11.26.07

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HOWTO: Divide a Community and Get OOXML Approved

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OSI at 11:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft keeps its enemies closer so that it can crush them later. Corel, Netscape, (NetWare era) Novell, and many more companies would serve as decent examples. It should all be a case of learning from history. Getting inside the ‘fort’ is the best Microsoft can do to fracture and destroy communities. As we stated dozens of times before, it is not this Web site that divides; this Web site spots the attempted division (by Microsoft) and warns about its nature, using soft and hard evidence that piles up until it becomes too compelling.

”Several years from now Microsoft will have the last laugh, until/unless more people wake up.“Microsoft will continue it’s divide-and-conquer strategy. That’s what Port 25, for example, is all about. It’s a Trojan horse that got Microsoft inside the OSI, already fooled Kroes and her Commission (software patents), introduced GPL poison, added ‘patent tax’ to some Linuxes, and ushered proprietary formats (OOXML) which Microsoft needs to be recognised as standards.

If only everyone could actually see this by learning from history…

The evidence we have collected speaks for itself, but we’ve neglected hyperlinks this time (there’s room for almost a hundred in the few paragraphs above). Several years from now Microsoft will have the last laugh, until/unless more people wake up.

One person wisely tell me that that if OOXML is approved, Microsoft wins. If not, the GNOME community is splintered (and so is the FOSS community). The way this is set up, there can be only one winner — Microsoft.

To use an analogy I was sent by E-mail, “Microsoft always tries to butter the toast on both sides so no matter which way it falls, it sticks. We just want to make sure our they get very little butter on our side.”

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21 Comments

  1. Jim Powers said,

    November 27, 2007 at 12:35 am

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    Ok, perhaps I’m foolish, but I don’t think that it will turn out to be a Win-Win situation for Microsoft. FLOSS will have its setbacks. It basically started out as one gigantic setback: a handful of “crazy” people believed in it. The issue is this: Microsoft is adapting, trying to find ways to dislodge FLOSS and derail its momentum. There is a reasonable likelihood that, over short periods of time, Microsoft will see some success in these efforts. It is unclear to me if they are enjoying such success right now, I’m thinking yes-ish, they are. But I don’t think that their current approaches are going to be long-term successful.

    - Proxy patent war – this is only serving to focus attention on the dreadful state of patent laws. The result? serious overhaul of patent laws, possibility of the disbanding of software patents altogether. It may take time, and they are inclined to do much damage along the way, but in the end people are going to wake up an realize that they have the power to re-adjust the equation about “intellectual monopolies”. In fact, in our future world there is no place for “intellectual monopolies to exist”.

    - They are trying to “win” against FLOSS by not competing, but by compelling. To twist and distort the legal and standards bodies to take choice away from EVERYONE, forcing MS down everyone’s throats. Some corrupt souls (look at those nice last-minute ISO signatories hmmm), will go along like maniacal, mindless sheep, but that will only enrage the thinkers of the world.

    Already the various FLOSS-supporting communities and individuals are adapting to Microsoft. Eben Molgen’s “hack” on the “vouchers/coupons” that MS was handing out is merely the tip of the iceberg. FLOSS and related issues (Open Access, Open Medical Records, Electronic Voting and the need to public verification), are multiplying in their importance and slowly infusing themselves into the public consciousness. It will still take a LONG TIME for most people to understand what the issues are and why they are important, but I think is is happening.

    The fighting will continue, but we didn’t have sold out dirt-cheap PCs running Linux being sold out before, one of many victories, but more victories to come.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 27, 2007 at 2:04 am

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    Ok, perhaps I’m foolish, but I don’t think that it will turn out to be a Win-Win situation for Microsoft.

    It was not my opinion, by the way, and I wish to believe it is not true. I’m quoting or paraphrasing two anonymous people in this post.

    Here is my take on the Linux Lose-Lose. When Microsoft signed the deal with Novell, it took several days for everyone to understand all the consequences. The article that moved me the most came from Bruce Perens (in Technocrat). It appeared the following day, IIRC. He spoke about patents and soon afterwards set up the petition page.

    At the point when I joined this site (Shane), it was clear that a compromise had to be made. My instinctive reaction (on November 2nd) was that Linux had truly won because Microsoft had given up (just a couple of months after Oracle, another 800LB gorilla, introduced Unbreakable). That was wishful thinking and a short-sighted, selective perspective.

    Anyway, I was speaking about a compromise here and that compromise is that of short-term gains. Going against Novell is essentially going against part of Linux (I had SuSE at home and at work, as a single partition because I was 100% Microsoft-free and I loved Novell/SuSE), but some people used the ‘cut the tumour’ analogy to explain this and spur reasoning for action.

    Microsoft had ruined part of Linux. It did damage. It was too late. The question is, will you live with and accept this damage or work hard to get rid of it? Sadly, returning to that analogy, which is not mine (a biological parable led the “eet” troll to pulling Godwin’s Law before), a patent ‘infection’ spread from a single company to 3 more (plus 4 embedded Linux vendors). The only way to stop this is though awareness, which is why more time is spent now covering issues like OSI, OOXML, patents, and the like.

    It’s less about the boycott and more about ensuring that no more companies sign patent deals with Microsoft; It hurts me deeply every time I gaze at my feed reader, only to find that another company fell victim to the Microsoft fear mongering scam.

    All in all, Linux lost some parts of it, but it would lose much more unless we interpret Microsoft’s action and respond accordingly.

  3. Zaine Ridling said,

    November 27, 2007 at 2:21 am

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    Great point, Roy. As petty as it may sound, I won’t be using Gnome anymore. I cannot support any software that is complicit w/Microsoft. Ever. There’s absolutely no need to even consider supporting MS-OOXML until it reaches critical mass. It’s NOT a standard. Likely it never will be. Even if it becomes one, it canNOT be implemented independent of MS Office. Period. So why even bother compromising any open source project?

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 27, 2007 at 2:43 am

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    Don’t give up on GNOME just yet. See http://sbin.reboot.sh/2007/11/26/gnome-foundation-weather-report/ . It looks like the project suffered from some internal disagreements, but people regroup and I’m sure (or at least hoping) that GNOME will distance itself from the patent/licensing territories, which include Silverlight and all kinds of “Microsoft (patent-encumbered) toys”.

  5. Sam Birch said,

    November 27, 2007 at 6:34 am

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    “HOWTO: Divide a Community and Get OOXML Approved”

    Fracturing the community, and doing microsoft’s job is exactly what this site is doing.

  6. eet said,

    November 27, 2007 at 7:09 am

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    My point exactly.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  7. Jim Powers said,

    November 27, 2007 at 7:38 am

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    Sam: exactly how so?

    What are the alternatives?

    Seems to me that this site is providing a clearinghouse for information, analysis and ideas about Microsoft and its tactics towards FLOSS: proxy patent wars, co-opting companies that are vulnerable to to corrupt FLOSS and diminish the benefits that competition can bring to the marketplace IF competition is allowed to happen; something Microsoft is trying to stifle.

    Sometimes the truth is ugly: distros and FLOSS projects have been co-opted by Microsoft, to embed technology (patent-encumbered technology) that can be profoundly destructive.

    As it once was said: the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Perhaps you do not agree, but my experience with Microsoft, over decades, is that they are insidious and underhanded. Their activity needs to be made public.

    What would your suggestion be? How is NOT reporting this information better for all?

  8. eet said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:57 am

    Gravatar

    This site certainly IS NOT “a clearinghouse for information, analysis and ideas”. It is merely a collection of nasty propaganda by one hateful individual without so much as a thread of journalistic ethics.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  9. "§4e$%$e$%t%& said,

    November 27, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Gravatar

    This site certainly IS NOT “a clearinghouse for information, analysis and ideas”. It is merely a collection of nasty propaganda by one hateful individual without so much as a thread of journalistic ethics.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a known, pseudonymous, nymshifting, abusive Internet troll

  10. Free Software Advocate said,

    November 27, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Gravatar

    Ireally think this site and the views and analysis it offers to everyone is most interesting and necessary due to the overwhelming campaign of FUD and disinformation that is goining on out there in order for Microsoft to have their way.

    There are two kinds of people who don’t agree with you here: Those with a different opinion and that offer reasonable alternative explanations and analysis in an educated and informative way (which are very valuable and add to the value of this web), and those who simply don like what they read and would rather prefer that nobody knew about the issues being publicly discussed here and elsewhere in the net.

    To all the rude commenters trolling around I would say them: If you dont like the opinions and views expressed here, don’t visit this site, otherwise your intention is simply to diturb and spread more FUD nonsense around (and we already have enough of tha with Ballmer, thank you very much), you are NOT WELCOME here.

    I think Roy should moderate the site in order to allow for a sensible conversation and keep those molesters and shills away.

    It is Microsoft the one which is trying to divide and conquer the FOSS development world:

    First, divide it between for-profit corporations and not-so-much for profit (they insist in the “commercial” and “amateur” distinction fallacy). At the same time try to woo some Linux company to accept money (lots of, in some cases) in exchange for subtantiating patent claims and help set up a patent protection-racket like business on top of these Linux distros; then try to disregard the distros not caving in and threaten the users of any distro not entering the patent-racket: This is way one of dividing the community.

    Way 2: Pretend to offer a false interoperability chance with the closed and uncompatible standards to some part of the FOSS project in exchange for help to subvert the standard formats (ODF) at the international standard bodies. This way you divert the efforts towards a single standard and induce division in the developer community.

    Lets keep denouncing all these underhanded practices and warning about the members of the community that are falling into Microsoft gravity well of borg-assimilation.

    Don’t let the trolls disrupt this site and the valuable conversations and analysis. Keep up the good work, Roy.

  11. 54e64e__&/t& said,

    November 27, 2007 at 11:52 am

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    “If you dont like the opinions and views expressed here, don’t visit this site.”

    This would mean letting you guys have an incestuous troll-lovefest.

    Nothing good would spawn from this.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a known, pseudonymous, nymshifting, abusive Internet troll

  12. Free Software Advocate said,

    November 27, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Gravatar

    Nothing good would spawn from this.

    Obviously, nothing good for Microsoft and its shills. But there is nothing you can actually do to stop us dennouncing the misbehaviour of the monopoly and of those collaborating with it.

  13. 54e64e__&/t& said,

    November 27, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Gravatar

    Your language alone (and the language on this website) should make any rational human being think twice. We find here talk of ‘collaboration’, ‘treason’, ‘contamination’, ‘impurity’ etc. etc.

    What kind of people do use such language? Has anything good ever come off such people?

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a known, pseudonymous, nymshifting, abusive Internet troll

  14. Free Software Advocate said,

    November 27, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    Gravatar

    Oh! you seem so upset by the word “collaboration”!(I didn’t write any of the others), are you maybe a collaborationist? (apart form a troll)

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 27, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Gravatar

    Fracturing the community, and doing microsoft’s job is exactly what this site is doing.

    I can’t help but wonder if you read all the text carefully. As I stated before, Microsoft had already divided the community. It was a case of either ignoring this or taking action, but the problem would not go away either way.

  16. 4234e534e4355t6546 said,

    November 27, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy, it is YOU who spreads all the HATRED among us Linux users, not Microsoft.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a known, pseudonymous, nymshifting, abusive Internet troll

  17. Victor Soliz said,

    November 27, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy, it is YOU who spreads all the HATRED among us Linux users, not Microsoft.

    I am not sure if you are some kind of straw man creation from the anti novell side or that you are truly an over obsessed person with this site that also loves Novell and (most hard to understand) Microsoft.

    Just saying this because you just keep going with pretty lame comments, like trying to move all attention to Roy and pretending than MS’ actions are a non-issue.

    I already told you before, ignoring problems is not going to make them go away. Sometimes you act like wanting to kill the messenger and ignore the source of the issue.

    This source is, Microsoft. They actively plot to divide the community, and this happens regardless of Roy’s reporting or misreporting if you want to say so.

    Even characters like Steve Ballmer and Novell’s own people accept the MS-Novell deal was about splitting Linux into a pro MS IP Linux and a rogue one and about FUD and false advertising, certainly not an interop pact as some people or OpenSUSE’s page seem to try to make it look like. I have read the pact’s text, I have read the OpenSUSE contributor agreement , I have read MS’ “open source” licenses. I have read Miguel de Icaza’s own sayings about how Moonlight regardless of being “open source” is only legally distributed from Novell and included in SUSE enterprise (NOT EVEN OpenSUSE!!) , I have really read a lot of things, man.

    And those things where there regardless of the existence of this site, and regardless of Roy’s reporting.

    So, to try to point all responsibility to his reporting, is … quite lame.

    This site does disturbs me, in the sense that regardless of the mistakes, the conspiracies theories, the tabloid like reporting. This site is right more often than not, that’s what disturbs me the most since a lot of people, probably you including are totally missing the point and are blocked into ad hominem attacks towards sites that oppose these things rather than seeing the true threatening nature of the things they are reporting.

    And to me it is

  18. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:25 pm

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    See this update. That ‘eet’ entity makes me wonder. I’ve also spotted something that’s akin to Novell astroturfing (with disclosure, I’ll admit). The ‘eet’ entity does not leave comments in many places. The only other site where ‘eet’ left comments is another blog of a ‘Novell doubter’. That blof blog was appalled by those comments as well and even deleted them (for containing obscenities and personal attacks).

    Correction: s/blof/blog/. Funny typo that’s akin to a Freudian slip.

  19. Jim Powers said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:47 am

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    OK, I’m certainly not saying that Microsoft is not working very hard to damage FLOSS (in particular attach the GPL). My point is that Microsoft has adapted over time to come up with strategies for “taking the wind out of the sails” of FLOSS. Those who support FLOSS will have to adapt to these new tactics and counter them. Over the long run Microsoft has a much harder job ahead of them: numerous businesses and individuals are waking up to the obvious, persistent, and sustainable benefits of FLOSS over non FLOSS and coming up with tactics to counter the adoption of FLOSS is hard. We need to be vigilant, and recognize that our opponent wishes to co-opt and re-define what FLOSS means so that it is simultaneously no longer a threat to them and ceases to be FLOSS in any meaningful way; this simply cannot happen. More importantly I don’t think that there is a way that it can really happen.

    One way of dealing with this new set of threats or tactics is to cut off limbs that get infected, in a way that’s what this site is all about, Boycotting Novell. Novell has some decisions to make: change it’s way to be left out to dry by the community that they dis-enfranchised. Novell unilaterally took action that was/is an insult to free software, the ball is in there court to make amends. They were provided on a silver platter the works of many individuals, good faith, and a brand (SUSE) of value, they chose to snub that which sustained the value: the people and the good faith.

    I don’t remember who it was, it was either Bruce Perens or ESR who wrote a few years back about the dangers of FLOSS becoming so tied to commercial interests. At the time that article was specifically about IBM, but clearly it also applies to Novell, and Microsoft has recognized that the “weak link” is FLOSS adoption is commercial interests that can be bought/manipulated. The prophecy I alluded to above has come true: the commercial weak link has been exploited and now FLOSS’s dependency on commercial support has been used successfully to sow FUD in the business world about FLOSS. We, the FLOSS community, keep worrying about our “prospects” for FLOSS viability are thinking in “business” viability as the most important measure. Certainly it is an important measure, but FLOSS should be able to weather this attack. We should be able to come back and continue to show the world that FLOSS remains string regardless of the “weak link” commercial elements. Those “commercial elements” that can’t “play along” have to be actively discarded as not furthering the cause. Again, a central tenant of “Boycotting Novell” yes?

    In summary: Microsoft has played out the next couple of playes in their playbook (co-opting vulnerable companies, and launched, via proxies, patent attacks on Linux), but we must hang tight. Keep getting out the messages about the benefits of FLOSS. Make it clear that companies like Novell and Xantros do not embody FLOSS ideals and are not representative how the FLOSS world wants to interact with Microsoft. The FLOSS view is simple: want to interoperate? Greeat provide the information that is needed to interoperate FREELY and with public assurances of NO PATENT THREAT. Better yet wave any patent that covers interoperability information or sign over the patents to the OIN. Now, correct me of I’m wrong, but the FLOSS way of dealing with interoperability seems awfully simple and clear without fear.

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 28, 2007 at 2:36 am

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    My point is that Microsoft has adapted over time to come up with strategies for “taking the wind out of the sails” of FLOSS.

    They are sometimes subtle variations of the same tactic, which makes it easier to spot and understand. Glyn Moody wrote a nice article about the evolution of FLOSS FUD. It was published about 6 months ago in Linux Journal.

    While we are able to understand the tactics we are dealing with, we sometimes struggle to explain the unfortunate consequences to prospective customers and also convince them that it’s truly the case (e.g. “Get the Facts is a bunch of self-funded lies”). Stereotypical lines which involve various types of hats (sometimes tinfoil) are used to dismiss everything that seems foul or inconvinient to one’s mind. Then you have terms like “zealot”, “conspiracy theory”, “communism” and others to struggle with. Stereotypes and false perceptions, fuelled by mainstream media and the likes of Rob Enderle, make bigots.

    Remember that new Web site called Linux Persona, which Microsoft launched about a year ago? It vanished within a few days (shortly after hitting Slashdot). Apparently (and I’m guessing here), Microsoft realised that the site was doing more harm than good (to Microsoft’s own image). It took cheap shots at the personality and credibility of those who recommend FLOSS. Microsoft still had the equivalent of handbooks which explain how to rebut FLOSS advocates in a business arena. It ain’t pleasant and it’s insidious enough to show you Microsoft’s fear how far it’s willing to go.

    Over the long run Microsoft has a much harder job ahead of them: numerous businesses and individuals are waking up to the obvious, persistent, and sustainable benefits of FLOSS over non FLOSS and coming up with tactics to counter the adoption of FLOSS is hard.

    The same goes for the mainstream press, which has realised that there’s great appetite for information about FLOSS. Corporation suppress this appetite because they can. They *drive* a lot of the media in the form of funding and nepotism, so there’s resistance. That said, you often see news sites that are overwhelmed by demand simply because they mention “Linux”. That is actually why I sort of received an invitation to become a writer at Datamation. It is also what I’s helping with at Netscape/Propeller.

    Someone whom I know, a person who possesses Linux skills, says that people in his city are hunting for his brain (not in the barbaric sense). Google contacted me on several occasions also.

    We need to be vigilant, and recognize that our opponent wishes to co-opt and re-define what FLOSS means so that it is simultaneously no longer a threat to them and ceases to be FLOSS in any meaningful way.

    This has already happened. Glyn wrote about it a months ago. As as example, he showed how Microsoft used its new OSI status to deceive the European Commission and redefine OSS (in order to stifle Free Software (FLOSS)).

    They were provided on a silver platter the works of many individuals, good faith, and a brand (SUSE) of value, they chose to snub that which sustained the value: the people and the good faith.

    Well said. By the way, people sometimes fail to recognise the fact that I’ve released GPL-licensed software myself, so this isn’t just a case of two men preaching for others. Shane and I are both protecting our software and we are pleased to see that we are not alone.

    I don’t remember who it was, it was either Bruce Perens or ESR who wrote a few years back about the dangers of FLOSS becoming so tied to commercial interests.

    Bruce wrote about something like this back in 1999. I can check and find out a more specific reference if you wish to dissect it. We’re always open for contributions from readers by the way. If you want to post something, send me an E-mail (roy at schestowitz dot com). The more we publish, the broader our reach becomes. Yesterday this site delivered about 1 gigabyte of pages.

    At the time that article was specifically about IBM, but clearly it also applies to Novell…

    Remember that IBM assisted Novell’s acquisition of SuSE, which is ironic because Novell is currently working with Microsoft. Gates considered IBM to be Microsoft’s #1 threat when he spoke about it last year, unlike Ballmer which listed Linux and Google as top threats. At the moment, Novell is also making moves that hurt ODF (and Lotus Symphony, by association/inferences).

    We should be able to come back and continue to show the world that FLOSS remains string regardless of the “weak link” commercial elements.

    Reh Hat is doing just fine and it rarely does anything which pisses the FLOSS community off. The same goes for Mandriva. I can almost say the same thing about Canonical (Ubuntu).

    Those “commercial elements” that can’t “play along” have to be actively discarded as not furthering the cause. Again, a central tenant of “Boycotting Novell” yes?

    I’d like to think of it as boycotting the Microsoft/Novell type of alliances. Novell has some good elements in it (e.g. developers who give us open source ATI/AMD drivers). Let’s heal the wound rather than cut off an arm. If enough SUSE developers escape Novell (many already have, according to a Gartner insider/analyst), then we can pull some good flesh before the arm falls off (Microsoft will kill Novell at the end and Ray Noorda knew too well how “Pearly” operates).

    Now, correct me of I’m wrong, but the FLOSS way of dealing with interoperability seems awfully simple and clear without fear.

    When the WWW was set up, interoperability, standards and consistency were assumed to be essential. Without it, a universal Web would not be viable. Companies that control large proportions of the market dread the day when interaction becomes a commodity, so this deviation from a state that benefits innovation and consumers (a la WWW) must be enforced by regulatory bodies such as the EC. Customers want advancement. To monopoly, advancement is change, which equates to risk. It is in a monopolists’ interest to ensure freezing of the market (less R&D, less adaptation).

  21. Jim Powers said,

    November 28, 2007 at 8:03 am

    Gravatar

    One, clarification:

    RE: Healing rather than cutting off.

    Agreed, I did refer to this in my posting, the ball is in Novell’s court. They can redeem themselves, it is entirely up to them.

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  26. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses



  27. [Meme] Don't Mention 'Brexit' to Team UPC

    It seems perfectly clear that UPC cannot start, contrary to what the EPO‘s António Campinos told the Council last week (lying, as usual) and what the EPO insinuates in Twitter; in fact, a legal challenge to this should be almost trivial



  28. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

    How unlawful EPO rules were unsurprisingly supported by Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in Baltic states; António Campinos maintained those same unlawful rules and Baltic connections, in effect liaising with offices known for their corruption (convicted officials, too; they did not have diplomatic immunity, unlike Battistelli and Campinos)



  29. Links 21/10/2021: GIMP 2.99.8 Released, Hardware Shortages, Mozilla Crisis

    Links for the day



  30. How Oppressive Governments and Web Monopolists Might Try to Discourage Adoption of Internet Protocols Like Gemini

    Popular movements and even some courageous publications have long been subverted by demonisation tactics, splits along unrelated grounds (such as controversial politics) and — failing that — technical sabotage and censorship; one must familiarise oneself with commonly-recurring themes of social control by altercation


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