03.20.16

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Microsoft Hijacks the AIX Trademark (an Old Tradition) and Openwashes Proprietary Minecraft

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft at 12:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft started the week (last Monday) with openwashing of the proprietary Minecraft and misuse of the AIX brand; journalists played along

ALMOST exactly one week ago (on Monday) Microsoft did something rather horrible, but were we too busy to write about that, as it wasn’t so urgent to respond to (coinciding with EPO milestones and an Administrative Council meeting).

“That’s just the same old Microsoft.”Belatedly, we now wish to respond to a pattern of misleading coverage by corporate media. A lot of it started with an article from IDG (several of its many sites, e.g. [1]). IDG apparently does not know what Open Source means and it even uses a dash in it, as in “open-source”. Microsoft money well spent on IDC ‘studies’ (IDG owns IDC)? It this just shoddy journalism or intentional deception? Well, soon thereafter the Microsoft UK-dominated BBC also issued some puff piece about it [2]. Why are journalists who don’t really know what “Open Source” is covering such things? At the direction of Microsoft perhaps? Are they simply being fooled by Microsoft? Also, why has “The Official Microsoft Blog – Microsoft” entered Google News [3] as though it is a news source? What’s next? The EPO’s own ‘news’ section already gets treated as news at Google News, even though this section — along with the Official Microsoft Blog — are not news sites; these are sources of deception and PR. It is ‘news’ about oneself. This is what the stories appear to have been based on. It is utterly disgusting to see journalists falling for it. Microsoft has many moves and strategies against GNU/Linux at the moment, but corporate media does absolutely nothing to highlight these. As can be seen in [4-11] (a partial list), some silly PR stunt about Minecraft got a lot more coverage than any of the recent attacks on Linux (combined). Only a few blogs cover the attacks, none of which in the corporate/mainstream media.

A noteworthy thing here is that Microsoft labeled its latest openwashing campaign “AIX”. This is Microsoft hijacking names/brands of competitors again. It couldn’t have done this by accident. Calling it “open source” in media even when Minecraft is proprietary?! And when AIX is quite clearly an operating system of another company? This is googlebombing and it’s bound to confuse a lot of people, probably by intention. How long before Microsoft releases some tiny component of its proprietary stuff as “open” and calls it “GNU”, then bombards the media with puff pieces about it?

With headlines such as “Microsoft to open up Minecraft world for AI developers through open-source AIX program” what will be the fate of the real AIX, which has existed for a very long time? How about the headline “Microsoft Project AIX is an open source Minecraft-based artificial intelligence solution”? Or Slashdot with “Microsoft to Open Source Minecraft-Based Project AIX”? “Microsoft Open Sources its AI Development Platform” says the headline from a Microsoft apologist. That seems like very old news, re-announced. A week ago, on Monday morning, I found no less than a dozen Microsoft openwashing pieces (see some of them at the bottom). There must have been many more since. What happened to journalism and why is this openwashing campaign not subjected to any proper fact-checking? Increasingly, over the years, we have come to the conclusion that “fixing” or correcting the corporate media is an exercise in futility. Making alternatives works better. For those who believe that Microsoft is now an “Open Source” company we can only deliver criticism and insults, but we are not trying to gag them. “Balanced” is often a byword for “conforming to widely-held beliefs”. Microsoft is trying to make it a widely-held belief that it’s ethical and “Open Source”. It’s a massive lie. An old Microsoft modus operandi should be worth noting here, as the company habitually hijacks names of the competition (many examples have been covered here over the years). AIX in this case is the latest of many and it’s not going to be the last.

MinceR jokingly wrote, “IBM sold AIX already?”

No, but Microsoft did a hostile takeover of the acronym, regardless of IBM’s need for consent. That’s just the same old Microsoft.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft to open-source AI development platform based on Minecraft
  2. Minecraft to run artificial intelligence experiments
  3. Project AIX: Using Minecraft to build more intelligent technology
  4. Microsoft is using Minecraft to train AI and soon, you can too
  5. Minecraft to allow devs to test in-game AI
  6. Microsoft to make Minecraft an advanced AI playground
  7. How Minecraft is helping to shape the future of AI
  8. The world of Minecraft is now used for artificial intelligence innovation
  9. Minecraft Is Now a Playground for AI Experiments
  10. Minecraft will be used as a place to test artificial intelligence
  11. Microsoft’s Project AIX uses Minecraft for AI research
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