Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Lobbyist Attacks the GPL in the Press

This is truly a recurring pattern, a coordinated effort if you like, in which Novell plays a role as well. If you remain unconvinced, then you are urged to follow those links where we discussed (with proof) cases where the media is being used as a weapon to discredit the FSF, Richard Stallman, the GPL, Groklaw, Open Source software, and GNU/Linux.

The latest comes from eWeek, where ACT warns about "the risks with the latest GPL draft". The article, in its defence, cares to mention something important which must not be overlooked.

But ACT, a Washington-based technology lobby group whose membership includes large companies like eBay, Oracle, Orbitz and VeriSign, and which was founded in 1998 in response to the Microsoft antitrust case, is largely dismissed by those in the open-source community as nothing more than a lobby group for the interests of Microsoft and those other large corporations.


Who exactly are those ACT folks? A little research reveals too much.

ACT has been accused of being an industry front for Microsoft, promoting a Microsoft-friendly agenda in relation to property rights and anti-trust legislation.


Here is an even better example.

Long before it employed bloggers to do the job for it, Microsoft hired sympathetic members of the public to make its case in online forums, posing as disinterested citizens. Things got much more professional as the antitrust trial unfurled. After hiring DCI in the late 1990s, Microsoft created two new trade groups, the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), and the Americans for Technology Leadership (ALT), and marshaled campaigns such as "Freedom to Innovate" - encouraging Windows users the chance to make spontaneous gestures of support for Chairman Bill.

These weren't always too successful. A campaign in 2001 to petition 17 state's Attorney Generals - who had pooled resources to bring their own antitrust action against Microsoft - resulted in supportive letters being written by dead people.


Microsoft is not a distant party in these attacks by proxies, pressure groups, and the ilk of Open Source foes. Firstly, consider this:

Unsurprisingly, the speediest criticism [to GPLv3] came from Microsoft, whose deal with Novell prompted the inclusion of the controversial clauses in the first place.


Keep in mind that in order to avoid criticism, Novell and Microsoft are likely to call opposition from supposedly independent parties. It is dishonest and it is self serving, rather than objective.

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