11.14.11

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Former Microsoft Managers Still Monetise Fear of GPL

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: A quick status update about FUD firms that piggyback FOSS concerns to sell proprietary software (unsurprising they have their roots in Microsoft)

EVERY now and then, the more notable firms which spread GPL FUD appear in the press again, either with a press release or a placement. Here is the latest example from PR person Kim Weins, who spreads some licence FUD on behalf of her boss from Microsoft, who created and runs this company called OpenLogic, just like Black Duck was created by a Microsoft marketing guy and serves a similar purpose now. We were somewhat baffled to see this announcement which says:

The partnership will help deliver complete code inventory and licensing reports to facilitate the adoption of open source Linux-based systems among automotive OEMs and Tier1 companies.

How is the spreading of GPL FUD with proprietary software and software patents “facilitat[ing] the adoption of open source Linux-based systems”?

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5 Comments

  1. Adrian Malacoda said,

    November 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm

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    I don’t see any fud in that OpenLogic piece. What comes to mind for me when I think of GPL fud is talk about how the GPL is cancer, infringes on choice, serves some sort of evil agenda, etc. This piece just seems to state that lots of Android apps use free code without respecting the licenses. Which doesn’t surprise me, really. I get the general feeling that many developers, especially novices, see “open source” as some sort of free-for-all that they can just take from whenever they feel like it. If anything its not saying anything bad about the GPL, its highlighting how inexperienced Android developers are.

    twitter Reply:

    Anyone wanting to use free software would do better to get an opinion from the FSF and other real experts in the field. Microsoft people try to equate non free software with free software. They falsely project the complexity and hazards of the non free software world onto free software. That’s huge FUD, no matter how much they pretend it’s a service. Free software licensing is simple and there’s little acrimony when problems happen. It’s not like the non free world where the BSA raids the place, audits every computer, demands a license for everything they find then hands out a bill for the audit and every petty use violation they find.

    Adrian Malacoda Reply:

    I think a distinction is to be made between using (running) free software and using code from free software in other projects.

    It’s not required to agree to any license to run free software – that’s part of what makes it free. Free software licenses only govern distribution. The letter of the GPL might look complex but the spirit is not, and following the spirit (i.e. releasing any derivative works under that same license) is the quickest way to achieve compliance.

    I do read about GPL violations every once in a while. One of the most commonly infringed projects is ffmpeg. There’s plenty of examples from their bug tracker where someone is reported for non-compliance and they refuse even to read the license. It’s only complex for people who want to skirt the rules.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    In the wiki page you can find better examples where even a “security” variant of this FUD tactic was used by them to sell proprietary products. The overall message is usually that free/libre code is to be feared and we need to buy products to avert disaster. Kim would occasionally send me E-mails, still failing to convince me that they do good. I made up my mind based on years of their endeavours. B. Kuhn, Fontana and others are not fans, either (they cited me for it).

    Adrian Malacoda Reply:

    I can definitely see some prominent examples of fud from that wiki page. One tactic I’ve seen is when BSD/Apache is painted as “business friendly.” Of course the only “business” the GPL is unfriendly to is the proprietary software business, but this is one example of the view that “open source” exists to provide source code for proprietary products.

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