Bonum Certa Men Certa

Joe Barr Knew Microsoft's Tactics All Too Well

Great man, beautiful mind

M

r. Barr, an excellent writer and Free software evangelist, passed away a few days ago. The news about him was very sad as he was not only a great man but also huge asset to the GNU/Linux community. Among his legacy was this page about Microsoft Munchkins. He understood very well how Microsoft had been operating. It is, without a doubt, a must-read.

By Joe Barr Originally published September, 1996

SLIME 1. Spin, Lies, and Insults by Microsoft Employees. The extension of Microsoft's corporate ethic to online community.

One place that's been SLIME'd is Canopus, the forum on CompuServe that had become my regular online habitat. At one time it was a bastion of independent thought, consisting of contrary but industry-wise regulars who were never afraid to criticize the powerhouses in the industry, be they IBM or Microsoft or anybody else.

[...]

I think the change began about the time Win95 debuted. For one thing, honest debate and sincere conversation began to decline with the arrival of Arnold Krueger. Whatever it is that brought him to Canopus, or keeps him there, it is definitely not honest discourse. Arnold is a one-man propaganda machine, boosting Win95 and dis'ing everything else. He is the kind of guy who belongs in one of the comp.os.___.advocacy newsgroups. And no where else. Since the first day he arrived, his message has been simply this: Win95 is it, if you don't use it you are stupid, if you computer won't run it, it's a piece of crap.

One unfortunate reality of Microsoft's reputation for dishonesty is that its employees can immediately gain credibility by claiming not to be MS employees. Steve Barkto and Bill Diamond are two of the best known examples.

[...]

And spin he does. He is easily the most gifted liar the forum has seen. He is not a buffoon-like bozo like Arnold Krueger who puts out so much crap that it is laughable. No, Richard Shupak does it with style. He mixes truth, fact, and bullshit in amounts calculated to bring the most believability a spin-doctor can hope for. He uses inuendo like a scalpel. Almost always his goal is to deceive.


A couple of days ago, Groklaw thanked Mr. Barr for this gutsy response to Rob Enderle.

Not many people have the experience of going deep down into Microsoft's dirty tricks. The same type of slimy tricks live on to this date. We have accumulated some examples in:



Ever seen a company withdrawing GNU/Linux from its store shelves? Check this one out.

Two weeks ago a startling post by a Canadian Canopian claimed that London Drugs, a chain of stores, had an agreement with Microsoft that prohibited them from displaying OS/2 on their shelves. I knew it couldn't be true. Microsoft is hard at work trying to have Sporkin removed as the presiding judge at the hearings on their consent decree. This sort of restraint of trade would blow up in their face at just exactly the wrong time. Still, I decided to track it down.

I got the phone number for the store in Edmonton, Canada, and called and asked for the computer department. Color me surprised when the clerk told me that it was true, that they could not display Warp, although they kept it in the stockroom and sold it on request. I asked to speak to a manager. Said manager repeated the same thing, that for 'certain considerations' from Microsoft, they kept OS/2 off their shelves. This was too hot to hold for the next issue of Tech-Connected, so I passed it on to a well-known and highly respected newspaper man.


Joe Barr will be sorely missed. His more technical writings have always been superb.

OOXML too received its "In Memoriam".

So swiftly moving on, I really don’t think OOXML is worth wasting much time over any more. Even M$ it seems doesn’t really want IS29500. The rest of us really care little about it, especially now there are so many other avenues for preservation of our data and the world is finally starting to “grok” what Open really means.


No matter how pointless or tedious it gets, it would be wrong not to talk about OOXML because the level of abuse needs to be shown, especially in the face of endless denials and disinformation. Moreover, the OOXML fiasco has taught us a lot about sources of corruption and led to the departure of some people.

"Microsoft has announced the “Microsoft BlogStars” contest, to Hunts for Developer Bloggers in India. After feeling the power and increase of the Bloggers community in India, Microsoft tries to trap and hunt Bloggers in India to buildup the blogging community, for writing blog posts supporting towards Microsoft Technologies."

-- Microsoft Traps and Hunts for Bloggers in India !!



"Two Microsoft employees threatened to sue me if I wrote about their behavior online, so I not only wrote the story, I mailed each of them a personal copy."

--Joe Barr, Free Software Hero

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