Bonum Certa Men Certa

“One Promises You Heaven and the Other Prepares You for the Grave”

"Pearly Gates and Em-Ballmer
One promises you heaven and the other prepares you for the grave."

--Ray Noorda, Novell



Yesterday we witnessed another new example of Microsoft's strategic play. Its goal is to rob GNU/Linux from its killer applications -- or have the platform neglected and development for it curtailed -- and shift focus to Windows.



The reactions to this were not enthusiastic at all. LXer, for instance, has a nice headline to describe this. It reads: "Microsoft's Plan to Colonise Open Source." It sums it up nicely and we wrote about it several hours ago. We have already identified several people who are silently 'colonising' FOSS and trying to persuade clients, for whom they consult, what licences to choose, what business model to adopt (including policy on software patents), and what platforms to serve.

Penguin Pete takes it further and describes Microsoft's latest invitation as an act of AstroTurfing.

Evidently, a "Senior Marketing Manager" has the responsibility of:

* "assisting in defining and driving core marketing initiatives – most specifically online & offline community-building" * "further the dialogue on the value of the Microsoft platform to open source audiences" * "be a cornerstone for a global thought leadership website and will be regularly featured in industry press around the world" * "act as a visible external evangelist for Microsoft"

Wow! That's all direct quotes from the job description. It is so blatant, I'm beginning to wonder if it's some kind of joke. Particularly the 'evangelist' line.

Kind of like the famous Halloween documents, this posting really tips Microsoft's hand and shows us exactly what they're thinking. After all the smoke and mirrors over the deals with Linux distros Suse, Linspire, Xandross, and Turbo Linux, this shows that those distros were in fact acquired in order to be killed. It's not Linux that Microsoft wants, it's the customers.


A sort of follow-up article comes to accompany Glyn's initial interpretation of the above. It talks about vapourware, but its key point, as summed up by the headline "Microsoft Admits Being Half-Open Doesn't Work," shows just how reluctant Microsoft has been in adopting openness. It just wants to exploit "Open Source". No more, no less.

Telling people what is going on isn't a problem for GNU/Linux, of course, because the entire process is conducted out in the open. If information “changes”, people know about it the second that change becomes apparent – not “later”.


It's all about transparency at the end, but to stray a little off topic here, consider what Microsoft Watch has been saying about Microsoft's latest promises:

Are These Windows Transparent or Translucent?



[...]

Besides myth busting, there is Microsoft's desperate need to get out something positive about Windows. That's not easy with all the negative Web chatter about Vista and the constant nitpicking of Apple "Get a Mac" TV commercials. Silence is golden only when there is no other noise. Given how bad the Vista talk is, perhaps Microsoft executives think that they can get away with talking Seven without causing too much sales harm to the current operating system.

That said, including today's reaffirmation of a ship date—"approximately three years after the general availability of Windows Vista," according to Chris' credited blog—any information risks freezing sales. I see extremes rather than middle ground. Either Microsoft executives see that even limited information disclosure can do little more harm, or they don't care—meaning they've already given up on Windows Vista.


Here is what Joe WIlcox said only yesterday.

1. Windows 7 won't be much different from Windows Vista...

2. There's no new kernel or modular design...

3. The user interface won't radically change....


So, a long, long time before the mythical thing is even released, most/many of the promised features have already been dropped, confirming that by all means we have another case of vapourware in our hands. Does Microsoft expect to earn people's trust when it asks people to port projects to Windows? Which version? Will it be adopted at all? What about the promise of ODF support [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]? Will it hold water? Just a lot of hot steam?

In case you wish to know more about Windows 7, which fellow advocates have already labeled "Windows ME3". then see:



Windows 7 will be a minor update to Vista — with “minor,” here, meaning as less disruptive as possible to users and their applications. Microsoft has said Windows 7 will use the same driver model that Vista did.




Going back on topic (about Microsoft promising the world to FOSS developers) over at USENET, we poke some fun by breaking down this latest job offer from Microsoft. Quoted below are Microsoft's words' (in red), Slated, and 'Ghost in the Machine':




> This bizniz-speak gibberish requires closer scrutiny:

Gotta love it.

> > "You will have the opportunity to help drive the strategy" > > I.e. make decisions.

How does one drive a strategy? Is that like driving an automobile? (And I thought the "paradigm shift" of HP in the mid-90's was bad.)

> > "for customer-driven marketing" > > I.e. feedback

Too much feedback in the wrong phase and the circuit oscillates. ;-)

> > "designed to further the dialogue" > > I.e. marketing > > "on the value of the Microsoft platform" > > I.e. convince them it works

To be fair, Microsoft Windows *does* work; it's just that solutions based on Linux such as Ubuntu and/or OpenOffice tend to work a lot more reliably. ;-)

As someone once put it.... Microsoft *just* works, but Linux just *works*.

> > "to open source audiences. You will work regularly with technical R&D > teams and business strategy owners" > > WTF is a "business strategy owner"? > > Does anyone out their /own/ a business strategy?

One would hope that they can at least explain it. Dunno whether that equates to ownership. ;-)

"Uhh...yeah, we went with Microsoft because they're a respectable vendor who...uh...*whips out English-to-bizspeak dictionary*...facilitates the transference of value from our ... erm, I mean, *to* our customers of our services..."

> > "to define customer requirements" > > Erm, surely it's the /customers/ who "define" their > own requirements, not the vendors.

It's a complicated issue. Part of this is indeed customers defining what they need from a company, but part of it might be a company trying to find customers and markets by convincing them that they need something that they've never needed -- or heard of -- before.

> > "and drive customer-ready evidence" > > LOL! That's a new one. "Customer-ready evidence" ... honest m'lud.

It's an interesting selection of verbiage. Sounds like something along the lines of finding new markets and/or convincing prospects that they really need this new gizmo/software/process.

(Who, me cynical?)

> > "to arm customers" > > BANG! Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat! The Vole just can't suppress its criminal ethos, > can it?

One of the uglier ethical issues is arms suppliers supplying both sides of a conflict. Granted, that wanders a bit from this NG's Charter (not to mention this subthread!).

> > "and partners with the benefits of Microsoft platforms and open source > stacks." > > I.e. fscking kill Linux, by moving all that FOSS "cancer" to Windows. > > "Your work will be a cornerstone for a global thought leadership website" > > OMFG how pompous. "I declare this Website is a cornerstone, yes, a > cornerstone. I lead all thought - none shall think but I. I command thee > to follow my thoughts. Look into my eyes. You are feeling very sleepy".

A cornerstone? What about all the other stones? One of the problems I have with Windows is that I get the feeling they don't build with stones, they build with construction paper -- and if they're lucky, the glue doesn't explode.

> > "and will be regularly featured in industry press around the world." > > Eh ... "*will* be featured" ... "*will*". How the fsck do they know?

Market channel. Microsoft obviously will try to push this conerstone into the faces of the outside-of-Microsoft publicity machine (if not the *owned-by-Microsoft* one). Of course one is reminded a bit of Sysiphus; if they aren't careful it might drop on their heads.

(Might be the best place for it.)

> Again, bloody pompous at best, and probably corrupt (own the news) > at worst.

MSNBC, anyone?

> > "You will also be responsible for ensuring that WW field sales &

Gods...a marketdroid that actually got it *right*! I hate seeing "insured" everywhere, unless one's referring to certain fiduciaries. Give him a point for that...though at this point he's down 10,001 points anyway.

*ahem* Now back to your rant... ;-)

> marketing teams have the right message and content to effectively > communicate value to customers."

"Right message"? *snort* Depends on who defines the notion, methinks.

> > Gah! there's that stupid bloody phrase again. "Communicate value" ... > "deliver value" ... "give value". WTF are these pointy-hairs on about.

Delivering value = "convincing the mark that he's better off going with us than with our strawman evildoer." OK, that's a bit strong, but it's clearly salesmanship.

> Something ... anything only has "value" in terms exchange of ownership > (unless they're referring to /sentimental/ "value", which I sincerely > doubt). What is this "giving value" bollocks. AFAICT what they really > mean is "make a sale".

Correct.

> > "Give value" my ass. >

Microsoft. Where do you want to be led today?

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