Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Quest to Daemonise Critics of Microsoft

Daemon



Summary: Mischaracterisation and demeaning sensationalism as tools of making sticklers of law and ethics look bad

LAST WEEK we pointed out that critics of criminal activity tend to be portrayed as 'bad guys'. This is very sad. In essence, it leads us to a state where criminals are glorified and they also set an example for others to follow, having shown what felons can get away with. Nice guys need not finish last and good people need not be excluded from deciding on world policy. It takes a lot of talent to take people whose intentions are good and moral value is high and then totally reverse this, casting them as "irrational haters". Richard Stallman is a good example of victims of this tactic. He is a big target to many.



It is almost understandable that some people view Microsoft's GPL violation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and the company's response to it as something worthy of credit. Even proponents of GNU/Linux are led into feeling this way.

To its credit, rather than damning the tool to program hell, Microsoft released the tool's source code under the GPLv2 licence.


Microsoft's PR people are trying to portray this latest GPL violation as something positive instead. But why "credit"? Microsoft had no choice. As we put it back in July when Microsoft was caught violating the GPL, "Microsoft's Goodwill is to Obey the Law" (having broken it and gotten caught). This is a repeating pattern wherein Microsoft is trying to inverse truisms and add exaggeration with strong words like "evil" or "hate" to provoke or stigmatise critics.

“This is a repeating pattern wherein Microsoft is trying to inverse truisms and add exaggeration with strong words like "evil" or "hate" to provoke or stigmatise critics.”Yesterday we gave an example of this in relation to Matt Asay's "The convenient fiction that Microsoft is evil." We deliberately link to the Linux Today page which contains a lot of comments. The response from Linux Today is largely negative, and rightly so.

What a terrible, almost trollish, headline to use. Maybe this is why Microsoft employees (or former Microsoft employees who now serve Microsoft from the outside, e.g. Mono) pretend that he is the second most influential person in "open source" (never mind those developers, lawyers and marketing people are much more important!), expecting that he'll reciprocate.

It is rather insulting when people who work with Microsoft preach to people who strictly stick to the law about how irrational and intolerant they are. As if to say, "follow my lead for peace and harmony along with peace-loving and harmony-loving Steve Ballmer. We should forgive Microsoft every year for any crime that's committed again and again. What's a bribe between two tolerant people? What's a recurrence of hundreds of times to a behavioural pattern? Let us have compassion."

It's a patronising attitude and it is not fair.

The facts speak for themselves. Microsoft is still attacking GNU/Linux in very disgusting ways [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Here is one new response to Asay's piece. It's titled "Convenient Fictions" and it is sarcastic.

It’s a convenient fiction that a vocal minority within the open-source community believes Microsoft is the source of all evil in the technology world.

For “such people“, it is far easier to denounce an imaginary one-dimensional straw man directing irrational “hate” towards a single entity than a principled stand against anti-freedom activities, no matter the source.

The fact of the matter, as a moment of honest research will show, is that the “vocal minority” has something to say about Microsoft, Apple, Intel, the MPAA, the RIAA, and many other entities – large and small – that engage in anti-user, anti-Freedom activites.

[...]

However, it makes no more sense to take this single incident and use it as exculpatory evidence than it would to use this single incident as damming evidence. Yet, by connecting this single “error” to the hateful straw man, that is exactly what “such people” are attempting – avoiding any mention of over a decade of history of clearly-not-mistake hostile and illegal actions.

Such dishonest apologetics do no one a favor. They do not cast Microsoft in a more favorable light. They do not strengthen the credibility of the apologist. And they do not convert the critic.


Asay was not alone with this line of argument. A decades-long writer of books about Microsoft development is sort of trivialising criminal activities and describing critics as though they are kids or "Star Wars" enthusiasts by exaggerating. It's titled "IT Needs Its Darth Vaders" and the response to it is negative. Rainer Weikusat calls it "babble".

Does the psychiatrist know about the existence of control freaks?



Well, does the psychiatrist know about the existence of (still kicking and very much alive) control freaks? For example, what's going on with the secret ACTA negotiations -- the looming threats of global DMCA, three strikes laws, etc. http://www.michaelgeist.ca/index.php?option=com_ta gs&task=view&tag=acta Or does the author believe that we should all sit down and relax and trust our future to the the benevolent senator Palpatine?


A few days ago we wrote about Microsoft's latest PR move for "open source". Well, "open source spin" is what it ought to be called when Microsoft does useless things to confuse people and characterise something whose core is all proprietary as "open". Moreover:

[T]he TCP/IP stack will not be open-sourced - because, as Peter Galli, who runs Port 25, Microsoft's means of communicating with open source, says , "the TCP/IP stack is third party software that Microsoft licenses from EBSNet, so we do not have the rights to distribute that source code.

"If someone needs to access the source code for the TCP/IP stack, they can contact EBSNet directly."

What use is a framework that caters to internet-connected devices without a TCP/IP stack?


Watch "FOSS" mentioned in relation to Word documents in this new press release. It was a long time ago that we warned about "Open Source" losing its meaning because of Microsoft (OOXML described as "open source" in the Times of India right after massive corruption).

“Microsoft is, I think, fundamentally an evil company.”

--Former Netscape Chairman James H. Clark

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