Bonum Certa Men Certa

First They Ignore... Then They Dump... Then They 'Bribe'

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Sometimes attributed to Mahatma Gandhi



THEY have tried almost everything. Yes, Microsoft has already begun flinging away a 7-year-old operating system for a mere pittance, it offered its crown jewel software for just $3 in selected countries and some say that they already give Windows away for free. Dumping is how it started, with this example from South Africa, and later it descended to bribery of officials.



The practice is akin to Intel's breaking of the law in order to destroy competition (kickbacks and collusion being just part of a broader issue), but this is not sustainable. It's possible to suppress hardware companies, but Free software lives on and flourishes regardless.

Korea has been talking about (and also implementing) migrations to GNU/Linux for quite some time, but according to reports, Microsoft is now offering them benefits and money in exchange for commitment to Microsoft software.

Microsoft Against Free Software... But In Favor Of Paying Nations To Use Its Software?



With more and more countries aggressively moving to embrace free and open source software, it appears that Microsoft is using its own money to its advantage, such as with this agreement to hand over $60 million to South Korea to get it to use its software, rather than the alternatives.


Korea got a little 'too' GNU/Linux friendly, so Microsoft needed to respond. Korea is likely to put itself back in the same lock-in traps it's desperate to avoid and escape (c/f references at the bottom).

There is an even bigger problem here. The cost of lock-in is not taken into consideration and Freedom (or independence) is neglected altogether, despite being an important factor . It was only days ago that Richard Stallman explained in his article--"Not Free at Any Price"--why permitting children to sell their freedom for a price (or discounts) is misguided. He even uses colourful analogies.

Teaching children to use Windows is like teaching them to smoke tobacco—in a world where only one company sells tobacco.


Microsoft has a strategy that relies on separation between technical and non-technical people, thus capitalising on selfishness and ignorance. Maybe they can corrupt some more Korean officials. They did, after all, sign a patent deal inclusive of Linux with a corrupt company [1, 2].

Bad cigarettes



References



[1] South Korea, OSS License Guide Announced

The Guide explains how to strategically manage and utilize open source SW as well as what the open source SW is and how to use it. Explanation for GPL, an open source SW, published in June, 2007, is included in the Guide as well.


[2] Korean software firm sues Microsoft

According to Korean newspaper Chosun, the US software mammoth has been accused of causing a loss in sales revenue estimated at W30bn (US$1=W918) because the firm's Windows operating system comes pre-loaded with a media player and instant messaging.

Seoul Central District Court confirmed yesterday that Digito was suing Microsoft in the US and Korea, claiming that the software giant had violated the Fair Trade Act since 2000.


[3] Motorola selling Razr2 phone in S.Korea

Motorola accounted for 11.5 percent of the Korean handset market as of the end of April. Samsung Electronics Co. held 55 percent and LG Electronics Inc. had 19 percent, according to Korea-based ATLAS Research Group.


[4] Korean court rebuffs Microsoft in patents case

Microsoft has taken another slap from the authorities in Korea, after a court decision in a patent dispure raised the prospect of Office being taken off the shelves in the country.

Microsoft said it was continuing to dispute the patent's validity.


[5] Consumers in No Hurry for Vista Upgrade

In a survey of 4,144 members of Danawa.com, a price comparison site, only 14 percent of respondents said that they will immediately upgrade to the Vista platform when Microsoft releases it on January 30.


[6] Haansoft Teams Up with Redgate, Targets Linux Market in Asia

Haansoft said on Wednesday that it had teamed up with domestic security firm Redgate to reinforce security for 'Asianux.'


[7] First phase of Korea's open-source city is high success

Following the trend of open source adaptation in major cities worldwide, one of the major Korean cities, Gwangju Metropolitan City, successfully jumped onto the open source transition, receiving spotlight from related industry.


[8] South Korea's ETRI develops advanced Linux desktop search system, puts end to erroneous results

On 21st, South Korean R&D firm ETRI announced that they have developed new Linux desktop search system, 'antbear'. The antbear can analyze and run advanced text searches, producing more accurate results by precisely analyzing the search words.


[9] An open source development project 'Winter of Code' just got launched!

Soonseon Kwon, who runs KLDP (Korean Linux Documentation Project) said, "This is the first ever open source event in Korea and I hope it will serve as a good opportunity to promote the open source to Korean students. I also hope that both the students and resulting projects can put a positive effect on the open source community."


[10] 'Genome Project' Led by Open Source HPC

The BLAST tool module is highly compatible to run on Linux platform with advantage of considerably faster result compared to running on other platform.


[11] RP, Asia give open source the space to expand wings

For instance, the South Korean government bought 120,000 copies of Hancom Linux Deluxe as early as 2002 in an effort to switch approximately 23 percent of its Microsoftbased desktops to open source.


[12] Korea’s HaanSoft to promote Asianux in RP

Asianux, a version of the Linux operating system, was developed by China's Red Flag Software and has since been locally deployed and distributed by Japan's Miracle Linux and HaanSoft, forming a regional open-source consortium.


[13] Koreans to showcase open source experience in Cebu summit

KIPA has been actively pushing open source use in government. One of its projects resulted in a local version of Linux (called Buyeo) now used in nearly 200 schools in South Korea.

KIPA is likewise working to make Linux more readily available to companies in Korea. It has publicly stated its goal to run 40 percent of servers in the country on open source.

[...]

Hansoft, meanwhile, will also be sending speakers to the conference. The company is one of Korea's biggest software firms and has active participation in various open source projects, including Asianux, a Linux version targeted at Asian markets.


[14] South Korea to Fine Intel $25.4 Million for Trade Violations

South Korea’s antitrust regulator said Thursday it would order the Intel Corporation to pay 26 billion won ($25.4 million) for violating fair trade rules.


[15] Korean Government Writes Digital Textbook on Linux

The government-led Korean digital textbook project will adopt Linux. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Korea announced their decision to choose the open software for digital textbook, the key project for the government's digital education policy.


[16] Linux Foundation Opens Korean Office

The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that it is opening an office in Seoul, Korea. Kwangjei "Daniel" Cho, former senior director of Haansoft, Inc., will be the Linux Foundation director of Korea.


[17] A discouraging news for Korean open web movement

Open Web, a Korean web forum led by professor Kichang Kim of Korea University is best known for its fight against rampant use of Active X in Korea, lost a lawsuit against the KFTC (Korea Financial Telecommunication and Clearings Comittee). Professor Kim accused that the Korean government's mandate on the use of Active X programs for the internet banking and other public web services should be lifted, as it is against fair trade and "overly favors technology from a single company (that is, Microsoft)".

Professor Kim has also asserted that as many Korean netizens somehow grew to think that Active X is something they have to download anyway, many of them are exposed to security vulnerabilities. Also, as so many entities including virtually all financial institutes in the nation depend on Microsoft technology in Korea, whenever Microsoft announces an update, the whole nation has to upgrade its internet infrastructure, and this leads to various losses on a national scale - Kim asserted.

But Professor Kim's year-long accusation fell short of convincing the court that the government mandate on the Active X is against fair trade and therefore is illegal.


[18] Haansoft to donate Linux based Hangul program to Daejeon City

The company provided 780 copies of the Linux-based Hangul 2005 to centers that house infants and small children through Childcare Center Association of Daejeon city.


[19] North, South Korea Unite Over Linux

The bitter political foes will team with China on the project, tentatively named "Hana Linux"


[20] Two Koreas Join Forces to Develop Linux

South and North Korea team up to develop a version of ‘Hana Linux (tentatively named)’ and set standards.


[21] ODF a National Standard in Korea

The proposal for ODF to be accepted as a Malaysian Standard by SIRIM, Department of Standards Malaysia and ultimately the Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation is dormant for more than a year now. Four months after the Malaysian proposal went to sleep, Italy made ODF a National Standard. Eight months after that, Korea has followed suit. With this Korean news, perhaps the Malaysian proposal will be awakened.


[22] Korea, No with comments to OOXML

Korean government concluded that OOXML is incomplete for ISO standards right now and suggested some of complements for that.


[23] The cost of monoculture

Korea will only get beyond this problem by 1) applying Korean laws on open standards to the certificate authorities, 2) reassigning new certificates which work with open web standards to all Koreans, 3) reprogramming all Korean websites to support 128 bit SSL which will allow for a heterogeneous marketplace of operating systems and web browsers. This is a herculean task and thus Korea stays hostage to Redmond.

Fascinating history. Unintended consequences and de-facto monopolies create costs too high to calculate and must be borne without question.


[24] Is MS Overcharging Koreans for Vistas?

Microsoft?s Windows Vista program is selling in South Korea at prices up to 70 percent higher than in the United States or Japan, with Microsoft blaming Korea's immature market for the price difference.


[25] Korean government warns against Vista upgrade

The Ministry of Information and Communication said that it wished it could tell a private company like Microsoft to postpone the release of Vista, but it can't. The best thing, an official said, was not to install Vista before you know what you're getting into.

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