Bonum Certa Men Certa

Don't Play Politics and Diplomacy with Microsoft

“Did you know that there are more than 34,750 registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C., for just 435 representatives and 100 senators? That's 64 lobbyists for each congressperson.”

--CIO.com



Microsoft's lobbying activities were summarised back in May. Here is a short new article that that speaks about Microsoft, among other companies and their lobbying muscle. It ends with:

Last year a total of $2.82 billion was spent lobbying Congress, according to OpenSecrets.org, and 2008 is well on its way to surpassing the $3 billion mark.


Some people fail to understand the scale of such corruption. It motivated Larry Lessig to abandon his work and start the "Change Congress" campaign. Software patents, for example, are part of the problem.

“The worst one can do is try to beat Microsoft at its own game using the same tricks or blind cooperation”To tackle this issue, it probably needs to be targeted at its root. The worst one can do is try to beat Microsoft at its own game using the same tricks or blind cooperation. The Linux Foundation, which tried to fight fire with fire when it hired Al Gillen for propaganda, got it all wrong.

Likewise, one must not try to just accumulate as many supportive politicians as possible to defend Free software. They work based on money, so it would never work out. It's like trying to kill software patents one by one rather than eradicate them as a whole. The system which permits this is probably the biggest culprit.

Dana Blankenhorn isn't just a writer focusing on open source software and health care; he's also somewhat of a politics buff, so he frequently weaves politics in with technology, just like Microsoft does. He compares the games Microsoft plays with Free software to the games which the Administration plays with the public.

Every few years Microsoft gets a new “good cop” regarding open source.

He makes great pronouncements, donates some old code, maybe tosses a few bucks the way of open source.

Then Steve Ballmer opens his yap and we’re back to square one.


This is not entirely true. The likes of Ramji are part of this, not just Microsoft's CEO. Watch what Bill Hilf, Ramji's predecessor, said after the Novell deal:

"We would like to strike similar patent deals with all the Linux vendors, but we had to start somewhere," said Bill Hilf.


Don't let the likes of Ramji and Ballmer/Ozzie play "good cop, bad cop". It used to be Bill & Steve playing that game. As Novell's Ray Noorda described this pair: "Pearly Gates and Em-Ballmer: One promises you heaven and the other prepares you for the grave." It's the same with Ramji, who promises FOSS developers a heaven (peaceful coexistence in harmony), trying to lull the 'community' to sleep. As Pamela Jones put it recently, they are "taking notes". FOSS developers at OSCON should treat Microsoft as though it's already suing because she believes they will (Novell too is a problem).

Only a couple of days ago we saw Microsoft using its patents offensively. Pamela Jones has just written: "Another [way to look at it] is that this could be the new business model. Anyway, we know now that they didn't file all those patents just for defensive purposes."

Microsoft knows what it's doing and it's worried about the growth of GNU/Linux. To use the infamous "war on terrorism" meme, remember articles like "Sun exec accuses Microsoft of 'patent terrorism'" and ""Convicted Monopolist Terrorizes Software Industry." Who would befriend such a beast?

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