06.27.15

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Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft’s Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software ‘Trolls’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Marketing, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenOffice at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Well the initial impression is how much it [Windows 7] looks like Vista. Which I think is…uh…the thing I’m not supposed to say.”

Microsoft Jack

Microsoft Jack

Summary: Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him

Jack Schofield is no stranger to us. He rewrites the past in favour of Microsoft (facts disregarded) and has been accused of "lack of professionalism". His Microsoft boosting has become so epic that many people all around the Web refer to him as “Microsoft Jack” (we cannot claim credit for this label). He now writes in The Guardian again. He never quite retired as he had claimed ages ago. Well, unfortunately he still smokes his pipe and curses at his screen after he writes Microsoft screed.

The Guardian is a suitable (if not ideal) home for Microsoft Jack. It is paid by Bill Gates and renowned for Microsoft propaganda since these considerable (but undisclosed) payments. It’s a sham publication which refuses to even acknowledge financial dependence on ‘Sugar Daddies’ like Bill Gates, with clear impact on editorial control (so gross that ads are disguised as articles or parts of articles).

Microsoft Jack claimed to be retiring several years ago, but it was purely nonsense. He later wrote in another Microsoft propaganda rag (ZDNet) and he even continues writing for The Guardian, where bashing Microsoft’s competitors is OK (even for the same behaviour as Microsoft’s) and criticising Microsoft or Bill Gates is very rare (they are literally funding the paper).

“Microsoft Jack claimed to be retiring several years ago, but it was purely nonsense.”Some might deem it AstroTurfing, but “reading Microsoft Jack’s responses to the commenters who dare suggest Openoffice or Libreoffice is revealing,” Alex Barker wrote to me. Looking at the article in full, it reads like a Microsoft advertisement where nothing but Microsoft is even an option. The only provided option or question is, which version/edition? It’s a pretty clever way for Microsoft to disseminate propaganda (making the competition disappear, an exclusion by design), which is does a lot of at the moment, as we pointed out some days ago (the timing is strategic), alluding to some British Web sites. Some of these sites Microsoft literally subsidised in exchange for Microsoft propaganda and advertisements (e.g. Ars Technica UK).

Looking at the comments, it is clear that many readers are not interested in Microsoft Office. Readers of the papers are using and are happy to recommend Free software, but here is how Microsoft Jack responds:

I think they’re brainless trolls.

[...]

I find idiocy gets a bit wearing after the first 15 years or so ;-)

[...]

Otherwise, I wonder if there’s anything you can take for verbal diarrhea? ;-)

[...]

Stop kidding yourself. It’s because you didn’t bother to read the answer and/or some of the many comments above, which show that LibreOffice (a) is not a practical alternative and (b) it’s not cheaper ;-)

Most trolls are by now smart enough to have figured out that Microsoft Office is already free for the vast majority of UK students. And, by the way, it also works on Macs.

Otherwise, I’m not quite sure how saving £0 on Office 365 — or, at the very worst, £15 a year on Office 365 University — fits with expecting students to shell out £1,000 or so to get totally unnecessary proprietary software on an Apple-shaped dongle. I guess logic is not one of your stronger points…..

Free as in ‘free sample’, right? Microsoft Jack can only pretend that he doesn’t know how lock-in works. What happens when one is no longer a student? Well, Microsoft Jack is smart enough to know what he’s doing here. He cannot use ignorance as an excuse.

Microsoft Jack then calls Google “biggest proprietary spyware and surveillance company”. Yeah, because Chromium, ChromeOS, Android etc. are all proprietary, right? Unlike the platforms from the NSA’s #1 (first) PRISM partner, Microsoft. It is clear, based on numerous yardsticks, that Microsoft is far worse than Google, but Microsoft started high-budget PR campaigns (e.g. “Scroogled”) to convince the public otherwise and lobby politicians to cripple Google over it. Microsoft is one of the worst. The company’s managers even have security clearances with the spies. But why not blame it all on Google? This is acceptable propaganda for the Bill Gates-funded paper, which likes to accuse Google of tax evasion but not Microsoft (especially so after Gates gave a lot of money for the newspaper to look the other way while regularly planting Gates Foundation PR and endorsements across letterheads of entire sections).

Let’s press on with more insults from Microsoft Jack (accusing others of “verbal diarrhea” while it’s mostly him who has it). Let’s start with some revisionism, as Jack surely knows better than judges that dealt with Microsoft in court for many years. Here is what he wrote:

An area I followed closely, and there was no “dirty dealing,” as far as I know. Microsoft simply produced much better products

OK, so either he has bad memory or he has gone senile. It is well-documented and it is common knowledge that Microsoft resorted to “dirty dealing”. We have plenty of original documents to prove it right here in this site.

Here is some more ‘wisdom’ of Microsoft Jack:

Using the 1997-2003 file formats is mostly stupid as the newer formats are more robust, take up less space with large files (they’re zipped), and are ratified open standards.

Bribing officials makes “open standard”, according to Microsoft Jack’s lies-by-omission world. Or blackmailing British politicians perhaps [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft Office still cannot deal properly with ODF, only proprietary OOXML (its secret, ad hoc, undocumented format). Microsoft does not adhere to its own documentation. It’s all a big lie and many people foresaw that all along.

Here are some decent comments from one who refutes Microsoft Jack’s promotional article in a very polite way:

@ JackSchofield
“Pity we don’t have an award for the most (clueless) trollING of the week.”

MS does NOT have the answer for everything.

MS is marketing smart. They provide ‘access’ so they can inculcate new users to their line of software. They hope that new entries will to the work place will provide an internal dynamic for future sales.

‘Popular’ software is usually the lead software that gets ‘hacked’.

Some MS stuff is good (especially with languages) and other stuff is pure doggerel. Many survive but equally many pieces of software end up in the Bit Bucket of history. MS does NOT have the answer for everything.

Much university work (thesis, research) is archived for posterity and Apps/online software gets ‘modded’ and features removed. Copy, on your own PC, is advisable.

For example, I just watched Samsung download an ‘upgrade’ that changes many OS menus to a white on blue background – a combination that is near fatal for colour-blind users.

An associate company of my employer handles orphaned archive material. They have a couple of CP/M operating system – Digital Research – computers with 8 and 5.25 inch drives. They can also read/convert WANG format disks!

And if you need some work done, their systems are booked solid for the next 5 weeks. They operate on a 24/5 basis – they need the weekends for maintenance.

Remember, university students have especial needs and ‘cloud’ is not always the best solution. This also applies to businesses.

Saving documents is plain TEXT is often the best answer almost anything can read TEXT! Even from years ago.

[...]

Skype is popular feature with GCHQ and NSA.

[...]

‘Free’ doesn’t exist. MS rarely does anything ‘free’ without an ulterior motive.

And what happens when you leave your ‘free’ domain at the conclusion of your courses?

Buy a software package that resides ON YOUR HARD DRIVE – not ‘somewhere ‘.

[...]

The problem with Office is that every Version has numerous features that few use, unless you are a type setter.

My employer has licences for 2003, 2007 and, I think 2010. Employees are free to use whatever they like.

Hands down winner is 2007 with most people using Win2003/97 as the format to save in.

As for PowerPoint, it’s clunky, inhibited and a waste of disk space. There are better, free, compatible options. But essential if interacting with the US military!

Remember, using cloud based software is fine, until you are out of InterNet range. Can’t beat software mounted on your hard drive!

Those who don’t agree with Jack, according to Jack, just “post obviously pointless trolls in a topic about Microsoft Office.”

Here are insults and generalisations: “Of course, some of that hostility could be prompted by the long-winded, self-interested piffle posted by here OO fans, who are — to put it kindly — little more than trolls in a topic devoted to Microsoft Office.

“Isn’t it odd how open source supporters are generally so lacking in social skills?”

So people who care about software freedom, open standards, or like OpenOffice are “fans…so lacking in social skills” (according to Jack). He later uses the term “OpenOffice fanboy.” So they’re all just “trolls and “fanboys”. He refers to every pro-LibreOffice comment collectively as “mostly-mindless LibreOffice comments”.

Here is another response to a commenter: “Pity we don’t have an award for the most clueless troll of the week ;-)”

Just because someone adds a recommendation of freedom-respecting alternatives doesn’t make one a “troll”. Jack gamed the debate by limiting it only to Microsoft Office (or versions of it) and then he frames anyone who goes outside the boundry of his silly game a “troll”.

He later repeats the nonsense that “Microsoft’s office formats are ratified open standards.” By bribing and bullying? Like Jack himself? He too is a bully when one confronts him. We gave examples before.

What Microsoft Jack does is unethical because he helps Microsoft get young people addicted to (locked in to) Office. It’s like the drug dealer’s mentality. “They’ll get sort of addicted,” Bill Gates explained, “and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

In the comments we can see Microsoft Jack relaying Microsoft’s FUD about Munich. He writes: “Good luck to the Germans. I hope they do better than Munich, which spent a decade trying to get rid of Office and Windows (and didn’t make it), saved no money, and probably lost a huge amount of productivity. And now it’s considering switching back….”

Not true, but Jack doesn’t care about what’s true. He calls LibreOffice a “pile of crap” (how professional a language from the man who accuses others of having “verbal diarrhea”). He says it is “slow, bug-ridden, and very imperfectly compatible with Microsoft Office” (as if being compatible with Microsoft Office with its proprietary formats is the goal). There is actually a large number of comments that recommend LibreOffice and OpenOffice. No wonder Jack feels a little marginalised and threatened/intimidated. His article is revealed as biased and unpopular among readers. Now he need to cope with it.

Jack spreads a common lie, along the lines of needing Microsoft to get a job. He writes: “There are, after all, many reasons why it makes much more sense to become proficient in Microsoft Office, such as your future employability.”

Complete nonsense. The world has moved on, so the myths like “nobody gets fired for buying Microsoft” needs a boost from the likes of Jack (for Microsoft’s sake). He also wrote: “Unless you don’t have a job and really can’t afford Office, life’s too short.”

So free software is just for the unemployed, according to Jack. Nice stigma he spreads there.

Jack also finds the time to trash-talk LATEX. He says: “They should be learning their course topics rather than, say, LaTeX…. ;-)” (actually, LATEX has several very good front ends that are easier to use than Microsoft Office). One can also hand-pick XML files to manipulate Word files, but in reality one uses front ends, right? So it’s another straw man argument from Jack. Nothing but Microsoft, not even Google’s offerings, is allowed any acceptance. Even the mention of alternatives is verboten.

Notice the update on Microsoft Jack’s ‘article’ (puff piece/ad). It’s like he’s working in coordination with Microsoft UK. He speaks to them and adds: “Microsoft UK says that students can get the full Office 365 free if their school or university has a site-licensing agreement, and that “most universities in the UK are part of the scheme”. Students can find out if they qualify by going to Office 365 and clicking the green “Find out if you’re eligible” button.”

Nice ad you got there, Microsoft Jack. Does the paymaster of the employer, The Guardian, endorse this kind of behaviour towards readers who comment? Since Bill Gates is one of the paymasters, surely the answer can be “yes”. To close off with Jack’s own words, “I handle a lot of documents from large professional companies, fancy PR agencies, pseufo-academic [sic] white papers etc.” Yes, Jack, we can tell…

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