Bonum Certa Men Certa

How Can the Press, the OSI, and the ISO be So Biased and Foolish?

One company pretends and the rest simply follow

Let's remind ourselves that Microsoft has taken several steps to assimilate itself to Linux and open source. We haven't a doubt that at the end of the day, all of these moves are motivated not by good will, but by pursuit for greater wealth, as well as elimination of competing platforms and applications. Microsoft establishes this by:

  1. Fostering open-source projects development
  2. Wooing OSI, which changes perceptions about Microsoft as an open-source player
  3. Fighting for ISO's approval, which makes Microsoft seem like an open standards embracer
  4. Expressing plans to acquire open source companies, which makes it seem like a great donation of money and acceptance of change
  5. Making deals with Linux distributors, which makes it seem like collaboration for everyone's benefit


"Microsoft never proposed really open standards."In reality, none of the above is quite what it seems because:

  1. Open source projects that Microsoft hosts depend on Microsoft's proprietary stack, so they only serve Microsoft's bottom line
  2. Shared-source gets 'contaminated' with "Open Source" and vice versa, which leads to further confusion in the market
  3. Microsoft never proposed really open standards. These are patents-encumbered, poorly/not documented specification and they require extreme lobbying and bribery to seem acceptance. Moreover, existing international standards get snubbed and totally ignored, leading to fragmentation and duplication of effort.
  4. Acquisitions of and deals with open source companies are intended to serve the Windows platform and other related products
  5. Deals with Linux distributors achieve nothing but the exclusion most Linux companies and users, depriving them from access to protocols. These deals also fuel patent FUD.


Microsoft's steps towards the open source community and Linux are a farce, but the company takes pride in them. Some journalists fall for this fairy tale, but some do not. In the following new article, more is said about the struggle which commercial software companies are having in the face of Free software adoption. It is summarised as follows

Microsoft fighting open source even as it embraces it.


"Embrace" should have a very special meaning here. It's more like the embrace of destruction, molestation, and death. The following new article talks about open source and the levels of openness. It is kind enough to say a little about Microsoft's rules of open source projects, which are either Windows-tied or contain GPL 'poison' (deliberate incompatibilities).

Faking it, or "level 0" participation, is doing PR blitz around open source but not actually using an open source license. "There isn't a lot of point to doing this unless you want to destroy trust," Fitzgerald says.


Have a look at another new article which describes Microsoft and open source as 'frenemies' (friends & enemies). I find this to be a poor article that echoes exactly those sentiments which we fear journalists will fall for. Microsoft is still fooling the world, which is not seeing open source devoured to increase lock-in (in the cloak of openness) and extract more profits out of ordinary consumers. The article has more positive bits such as:

"Microsoft appears to have accepted that Linux - on servers and devices at least, if not the desktop - cannot be completely stopped," said Daniel Egger, CEO of consulting firm Open Source Risk Management.


It is worth mentioning that this article also makes it more apparent that Matt Asay, who supported Microsoft's acceptance by the OSI doormen, thinks of open source mainly in terms of money. Some people still see open source primarily as a monetisation tool and enabler. It is not so much about freedom; it is sometimes more to do with harping about solution to lock-in (control through source code). If Windows, Apple's Mac OS and some other proprietary shims are involved, Asay does not seem to mind all that much. One has to remain cautious and skeptical when it comes to the OSI's role in defending freedom. Eric Raymond might be the exception here, but it seems like the OSI has devolved.

Sellout

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