07.30.08

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Dirty Tactics Even Machiavelli Would Envy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, SCO, Windows at 9:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Fumigate GNU/Linux, offer Windows haven” tactic

As further evidence of the tactic mentioned in the context of Apache and South Africa, consider the following. It shows how Microsoft is trying to tie up a variety of Free software projects with Windows while at the same time throwing slime at GNU/Linux.

At this point in the game, Microsoft should really come clean with a statement that rescinds its Linux/patent/suing threat altogether. Granted, Microsoft put itself in a hard spot with this one, since it had its channel singing the same tune for those murky months after the threat.

[...]

But more telling of how Microsoft is trying to change its attitude (and its image) is how it has begun to openly contribute to popular projects. It is one of the contributors to Zend Framework (albeit, so are 400 others, including Google). It intends to support Zend on Microsoft’s identity platform, CardSpace.

Microsoft’s collaboration with Zend has been focused on improving the performance of PHP on Windows Server. As shown above, all sorts of proprietary addons (embrace and extend) become part of this too.

“They try to buy themselves an advantage and see who sells out.”It’s more than just Zend though. It’s Apache, Python, PHP, Ruby and even virtualisation companies. They try to buy themselves an advantage and see who sells out.

Part of the plan is to call Linux illegal and scare people about lawsuits and “nasty things”, then inviting them to use Windows for their FOSS output.

“Come to Windows. It’s safer,” they whisper. Remember SCO? Well, the Microsoft-SCO story is back. Check out the following new article.

The obvious thought came to me while writing last week’s column (“SCO Group: Its future is all used up”) that about the only folk (other than the deluded and amoral management of the SCO Group) that want the SCO Group effort attacking Linux and other open source initiatives to succeed is Microsoft. So I decided to explore that side in this follow-up column, but a bit of reading led me to the conclusion that things are not as simple as they appear.

For years Microsoft has been claiming that Linux has been stealing its intellectual property rights (IPR, i.e., patented technology).

The obvious, and sometimes stated, intent of this was to make corporate IT buyers decide that Microsoft technology was the legally safe way to go since there might be lawsuits in the wings. This Microsoft effort has seemingly attempted to exceed the effort by The SCO Group in the sleazy department.

Microsoft claimed that the Linux development community was knowingly stealing Microsoft IPR and broadly implied that Microsoft might come after Linux users some day. However, Microsoft did not spell out what the technology was so that the Linux community could stop “violating” Microsoft’s rights. (See “Microsoft: Delaying product, spewing FUD.”)

This is not competing. This is cheating. In some countries, it’s also a violation of the law.

“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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