05.23.08

Microsoft Lies and Insults South Africans to ‘Sell’ OOXML

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, Standard at 12:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ZDNet caution: be careful of the Microsoft spin, in this case courtesy of Tom Espiner, who speaks only of Microsoft and its sympathisers as though they are telling the truth and not just trying to market themselves.

That’s just the blinding media blitz we repeatedly warned about. Take with a grain of salt anything Microsoft says about its ‘embrace’ (as in EEE) of ODF.

The article quotes Jason Matusow quite a lot. That’s the guy who was “amazed” by how much the word “open” could be bent and recently insulted the intelligence of people in South Africa, who ‘dared’ to realise that Microsoft isn’t good for their economy. Remember that Microsoft also breaks the law in South Africa where it tries to illegally obtain software patents.

Matusow is now being slammed over at Tectonic, in an article that also reached the front page of Digg.

South Africans don’t understand OSS – Microsoft

Despite having an open source strategy the South African government doesn’t really understand how to benefit from OSS. This is according to Microsoft director of corporate standards, Jason Matusow. Matusow, who was in South Africa on an “external outreach” trip around the time SA adopted ODF as a national standard, writes on his blog that not only does government not understand how to benefit from open source software, but South Africans were unlikely to ever do any “deep” development work on Linux.

A few days ago, Matusow said something along the lines of “it’s good to be back to blogging.” After these insults (see more details at MilkingTheGNU), maybe he should blog less. Making fun of poor people and suggesting that Free software is a matter of cost (as opposed to freedom) is a route to miserable failures. It makes Microsoft look very arrogant and deceptive.

“Let’s face it – the average computer user has the brain of a Spider Monkey.”

Bill Gates

Op-Ed: Novell Pollutes Free Software (and GNU/Linux) in Preparation for Microsoft Attacks

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, Patents at 12:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A reader’s opinion

About year ago we wrote and later tried to show (ideally prove) that Novell just loved Microsoft’s saber rattling against GNU/Linux. Novell’s response (or lack thereof) sometimes spoke louder than words. Like many companies, Novell is selfish and its roots of vanity do not help, let alone Microsoft's presence.

“It would also be in Novell’s interest if Microsoft started suing other Linux distributors like Red Hat.”Some hours ago a reader wrote to say: “The ‘do not sue’ promise is only for Novell’s paying customers. That means the others do not get access to all the patented stuff. It would also be in Novell’s interest if Microsoft started suing other Linux distributors like Red Hat. That way, large corporate users of Linux will run to safety in the Novell IP-protected safe harbour. See, that’s where the real money is.”

A few days ago we showed that Microsoft hasn't softened its hard stance against GNU/Linux. This was made explicit, based on the latest word from Microsoft's lawyers and the recent talk from Brad Smith. IT Pro has just published this article about the use of patent terrorism techniques in the fight against real innovation.

Patents and how they’re controlled are damaging the way technology is developed – and the Linux case is a key example of this.

[...]

Litigation as a mode of business is fashionable in the current climate, but offers little or nothing of benefit to users or developers. Authorial copyrights in the US have been extended to 70 years after the author’s death. The law that made this possible, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, was passed in 1998. Patent law, meanwhile, increasingly protects the interests of the powerful, encroaches upon notions of innovation and freedom to operate, and is used to inhibit competition. Both are in critical need of reform.

Dana Blankenhorn has also just published an excellent short anslysis which explains how Microsoft used Novell to bypass the courtroom’s ‘acid test’. Remember that Microsoft's software patents were defeated by Alcatel-Lucent just a couple of days ago, showing that they may be worthless, never to be upheld.

“What’s in it for Novell? Some more contracts and about a third of a billion dollars in immediate rewards.”It’s almost as though Novell chose to lose in court (staging a defeat, or “taking a dive”, to use boxing terminology) and then voluntarily pay Microsoft some royalties. What’s in it for Novell? Some more contracts and about a third of a billion dollars in immediate rewards.

In short, Novell sold us out when it possibly ran short of cash and almost got kicked off the NASDAQ. In exchange for Microsoft’s bribe generous incentives, Novell also decided to inject some more software patent poison into GNU/Linux , thus fulfilling the prophecy it had initially fell for (and was paid to fulfill with Mono, Moonlight, OOXML translators, and other junk code which is encumbered by Microsoft patents).

Anyway, here is what Dana said:

They have signed innumerable contracts based on the claims, contracts which assume the truth of the claims, and caused the production of products whose chief selling point is that their makers admit the legitimacy of the claims.

Microsoft seems in no hurry to change the status quo. They are not going to put up, in the form of a lawsuit. They are not going to shut up, either, given the commercial advantages they have created.

Our reader concluded with a personal opinion: “And this is what Bill Gates’ long-term strategy seems to be. Eventually there will be a Novell/Microsoft merger/takeover and Microsoft/Novell will be the prime seller of fully ‘IP-protected’ Linux solutions. To get there they have to pollute the ecosystem with hybrid Open Source/Closed-Source solutions. Like what they are currently about.”

Novell has already spoken openly about this hybrid model [1, 2] (as far back as 2006). If you care about Free software, then boycott Novell. Now, not later. Do what you can to ensure nobody pays a dime to that company, which shares revenue with Microsoft, for a fact.

If Novell gives software patent infringements by Linux some legitimacy — no matter the disclosure or validity, as judged by impartial experts — then Novell must lose all legitimacy and credibility as a Linux vendor.

Linux gives blood to Novell

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