Bonum Certa Men Certa

Was Thursday's Non-announcement a Case of Betrayal?

"Microsoft’s conduct as a corporation and a manufacturer of computing products, is predicated upon an internal policy of deception, which includes deceiving customers, deceiving competitors, deceiving partners, deceiving its own vendors, and at some level, deceiving its own staff."

--Scott M. Fulton, III



After a few E-mail inquires, we believe there are lesser publicised facts which ought to be brought up here.

For context, watch our first analysis of last Thursday's announcement, which Microsoft claimed was big, most likely in order to create more hype and deception (a smoke-and-mirrors routine). Now, watch the following bit of text from one of the more recent articles about it, which happens to come from Peter Galli (whom we do not trust). It talks about the role of a respectable Open Source figure, Matt Asay.

...asked by Microsoft to serve as a consultant on these interoperability initiatives...


This sounded a tad suspicious -- certainly suspicious enough for Groklaw to bring it up. Asay does not trust Microsoft for a second, yet oddly enough he is close to Bill Hilf. It's very clear that Asay would not do anything that harms standards or helps Microsoft combat open source, so it seems likely that he was deceived. Let's see what might back this assertion.

“It actually turns out that Jeremy Allison, Jim Zemlin, and a few others were asked to serve as advisors to Microsoft.”It actually turns out that Jeremy Allison, Jim Zemlin, and a few others were asked to serve as advisors to Microsoft. They were not paid to do so, but their reaction was interesting.

Matt Asay was disappointed by Microsoft's talk on patents and fees. He blogged about it shortly after throwing salt at Novell's wounds (more about this in the next post) and welcoming Microsoft's step forward. That was before reading the transcripts. His last post on this matter was similar to our "open to racketeering" post. Jim Zemlin makes a similar observation in his blog, but he says nothing about the way he feels about it.

There is more in BusinessWeek, as it turns out after a bit of digging. Here is the relevant paragraph:

In the open-source software community, Microsoft's announcement was greeted with measured optimism. "It's an acknowledgement by Microsoft that the world is moving toward an IT industry that believes in the value of openness," says Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, a trade group that includes many large technology vendors, such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), and Sun, and which pays the salary of Linus Torvalds, creator of the open-source Linux operating system.


Mind the date of this article. He may have spoken prematurely, just like Asay who knew about this in advance, but didn't receive all the right details (coincidence or by design?).

So, does Zemlin welcome this announcement or not? It's not clear, but it seems as though just like Asay, only later he realised what Microsoft really had him involved in -- APIs in exchange for software patent fees. The EU and Red Hat were not impressed. The same goes for the FSF.

"Worse than useless" was the FSF's take on the Microsoft/Novell deal. The same applies to Microsoft supposedly 'opening up'. It is truly a shame that they are using (and potentially deceiving) people to achieve all of this. If this is the case, does Mr. Zemlin still respect Microsoft [1, 2, 3]?

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