Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft and Its Followers Compare Free Software to Terrorism

"Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can't imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business. I'm an American; I believe in the American way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don't think we've done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat."

--Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft

Summary: How Microsoft incites the public against those who are critical of its behaviour

THE title of this post is no news. It has carried on for quite a long time. The same strategy happens to be used by the media/content industry, which insists that file sharing encourages terrorism. More recently, this very same industry argued that giving something away for free was "unamerican". It's an insult to Americans when this argument is being made. Whenever scrutinised by regulators outside for US for breaking the law, companies like Intel and Microsoft use the "anti-American" label as well. But again, that's not news and it is a well-understood technique where one polarises and daemonises the competitor or the law enforcer. Yes, Microsoft has done everything to show that it polarises and incites people against Free software; hypocritically enough, Microsoft accuses others of doing this and since Microsoft has greater control over the media, many people may actually be lured into this false impression.



The following new article from the Indian press speaks about the loadable module [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] that Microsoft gave after failing to comply with the GPL. Here is the person this article quotes:

From Linux side Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux Driver Project Lead, said "Microsoft's contribution is a good move for Linux. I'm pleased to see Microsoft working to build a better relationship with the Linux community. I think that this will be good news for users and organizations who want to see better interoperability between Windows and Linux."


The article fails to mention that Greg Kroah-Hartman is actually a Novell employee too and it's also a Novell project, part of the patent deal with Microsoft. Quoting Torvalds to justify this, the article proceeds to dismissing the possibility that Microsoft is acting to promote its own interests against Linux.

In another new article we find a former Microsoft intern comparing "open source" to religion and taking cheap shots at Microsoft's competition using words like "fundamentalist" and "religious". It is very telling. He is pushing the typical myths that he may have heard about while at Microsoft. Elsewhere, in the Microsoft press itself (the same one that offers sympathy to SCO), the author is trying to characterise the FSF's new campaign efforts [1, 2, 3] as "anti-capitalist" while ignoring that Microsoft is unique in the sense that it commits crimes. Is this capitalism? Was it established on violating laws? In other articles we find weasel words like "Linux fanatic". Much of this was fueled by the FSF's latest campaign.

“It is a case of artful terminology which seeks to associate Free software advocates with terrorists.”Adherence to law, ethics and democracy apparently makes one a "fanatic", a "fundamentalist", even "religious" (never mind if many Free software supporters are atheists). Needless to say, many of these characterisations arrive from Microsoft itself or from the Microsoft-sympathetic crowd. It is a case of artful terminology which seeks to associate Free software advocates with terrorists. I know from personal experience that Microsoft is trying to achieve this and the quotes appended at the bottom strive to demonstrate this.

As some readers may already know, Microsoft TEs lurked in Boycott Novell for quite some time before going above water -- so to speak -- and then attacking me, spamming some forums with those attacks on me, and even comparing me to a serial killer, Unabomber (by quoting known trolls and even anti-Linux Web sites). There are also firms like W-E and Visible Technologies. They have full-time staff doing this PR stuff that includes monitoring Web sites. Anything imaginable is being done to publicly discourage critical persons and incite others against the 'problematic' messengers. To them, it is another game of hypocritical spin and reality-warping. Novell employees have done the same thing to Boycott Novell, but this is a separate subject.

"Linux is a cult that captures the best-and-brightest kids."

--Jim Gray (Microsoft Research)



"There’s no company called Linux, there’s barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it. That is, it’s free."

--Steve Ballmer



"Thanks to Mr. Gates, we now know that an open Internet with protocols anyone can implement is communism; it was set up by that famous communist agent, the US Department of Defense."

--Richard Stallman



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