Bonum Certa Men Certa

How Microsoft Exploits the Term “Open Source” to Marginalise Freedom



Summary: Another timely reminder emphasising the need to dodge ambiguous terms that are easier to exploit

Mike Trausch’s new rant about the FSF's philosophy echoes what we see coming from those who are fixated on market share. Treating freedom like it's a popularity contest is not the way to go. Trausch is an advocate of Mono, so his resistance to the FSF makes a lot of sense.



Over at The Source, which is the newer Web site of the guy behind Mono-Nono, the importance of the term "Free software" is explained and defended very rationally:

“Open Source” was supposed to be a synonym for “Free Software”, the whole trick was to make it more acceptable to commercial interests. It is easy to see how a company might be skeptical of anything “Free” being good business.

But, consider this situation now: Government is not a commercial interest and the concept of “Free as in Freedom” should be quite attractive to the government of a country that likes to pride itself on being “Land of the Free” and all that!

So the strange thing here is that proponents of the “Open Source” label have so lost sight of the the core aspect of “Free Software” – Freedom – that they can’t even bring it up when it is applicable! They talk about “open standards” and “royalty or patent encumbered formats” without talking about individual freedom.


According to this new press release, visionapp has just "appointed Richard Seibt (57), CEO at Open Source Business Foundation (OSBF), as a new member of its supervisory board." Well, the Open Source Business Foundation (OSBF) boasts Microsoft as a member. We wrote about this at the time it was first announced. This is why the term "open source" is an open door for Microsoft to invade and dilute. We saw this many times before.

Speaking of Microsoft's poisoning of Free software, we have already explained that when VMware bought Zimbra it was essentially former Microsoft executives taking control of a major Microsoft competitor, which they can neglect just as they did with SpringSource. Yes, VMware is run by Microsoft folks and it has already neglected Free software projects it bought. To quote a new blog post from Dana Blankenhorn:

[T]his does not make VMWare an open source company. As its open source policy states, VMWare does release some components of its software as open source, but it doesn’t support them. Instead it sells commercial alternatives.


Those who trust VMware probably just don't pay enough attention (or think wishfully), so we append some more links below.

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