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Microsoft Exploits Feynman Lectures to Spread Lock-in, Does the Same in HPC

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Summary: In another assault on open access and free (libre) science, Feynman's work is being seized by a proprietary software vendor and wrapped in proprietary formats

GLYN MOODY probably said it best:

But wait: what do we find when go to that "free" site:

Clicking will install Microsoft Silverlight.
So it seems that this particular free has its own non-free (as in freedom) payload: what a surprise.

That's a disappointment - but hardly unexpected; Microsoft's mantra is that you don't get something for nothing.


What was this written in reference to? Here is context from The Register:

Forget Windows 7, the most useful thing that Microsoft will do this year is host the videos of a famous lecture series given by Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman back in 1964, so anyone can watch them and see a brilliant man engaged with the workings of the physical world and the people he is trying to get hooked on physics.


Does Feynman, who is now in his grave (passed away in 1988), know that Microsoft is exploiting his good work to pollute the Web and deny access to his lectures if the viewer uses a Free operating system like BSD or GNU/Linux? Would he have approved this? A reader wrote to tell us that "Feynman lectures [are] for free... on Silverlight only."

“Silverlight is proprietary and it is owned and controlled by a multiple-times monopoly abuser that ardently combats the scientific model of development.”The word "only" is very important. If and when Microsoft goes out of business (all commerce has its shelf life), will Feynman's work still be accessible? Silverlight is proprietary and it is owned and controlled by a multiple-times monopoly abuser that ardently combats the scientific model of development. It is about sharing.

According to our reader's interpretation of this (to paraphrase a little), Microsoft thinks that it can 'give away' the Silverlight client and make sure it doesn't run on GNU/Linux (except for the "Mono-polluted stuff"). Then, Microsoft removes IE from Vista 7 in Europe and blames the EU Commission. "Is there a pattern here," asks the reader. "They're repeating the same thing they did with IE and Windows. As in, create web-tools that can only make web sites that work with IE+Windows. Here they're creating flash incompatible sites that ONLY work with Silverlight+Windows. Where's the interoperability in that? If they were made to open up Silverlight, they would produce a crippled version and blame the regulators. And the fools will continue to let Microsoft get away with it."

Microsoft seems to be planting a Trojan horse in high-performance computing as well. It is exploiting ignorance among parts of the scientific community and Glyn Moody explains why:

So basically Project Trident is more Project Trojan Horse - an attempt to get Microsoft HPC Server cluster technologies into the scientific community without anyone noticing. And why might Microsoft be so keen to do that? Maybe something to do with the fact that Windows currently runs just 1% of the top 500 supercomputing sites, while GNU/Linux has over 88% share.

Microsoft's approach here can be summed up as: accept our free dog biscuit, and be lumbered with a dog.


Nothing ever changes when it comes to Microsoft's behaviour. It's only the degree to which it is able to conceal its behaviour that changes. Our readers usually call it "drug dealer mentality".

"What we are trying to do is use our server control to do new protocols and lock out Sun and Oracle specifically"

--Bill Gates



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