Bonum Certa Men Certa

Latest Attack on Free Software Traced Back to BSA, Whose Lobbyist Francisco Mingorance Tries to Legalise Software Patents in Europe

BSA



Summary: Very negative portrayal of Free software is tied to a lobby that's directly tied to Microsoft and also strives to criminalise Free software in the EU

JUST about a week ago we addressed claims that the BSA (Business Software Alliance) helps Free software and explained why such claims would be rather ludicrous. Prior reports we provided (in the form of links) show that the BSA, with its Microsoft/Gates relationship [1, 2], is responsible for a lot of smearing of Free software and also lobbying for software patents in Europe. Other interesting posts on the subject include [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].



Based on this short report from last month, Francisco Mingorance, a lobbyist from the BSA, makes the situation even worse in Europe. The EU rejects software patents, but the "BSA is still campaigning for it, through the UPLS," tells us the president of the FFII:

Lobbyist Francisco Mingorance from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a die-hard advocate for software patents on the European level. The original EU-Commission software patent directive proposal which was defeated by Eurolinux and supporters was last saved by the lobbyist Francisco Mingorance. His recent intervention at the European STOA panel shows that we have to stay alert and defend the rights of software SMEs and the Linux sector against our opponents and their patent ideology.


Two days ago we wrote about the cartel which includes the BSA practically lobbying against Free software, comparing it to a communist plot. Jason from The Source has rebutted the claims and showed that the BSA's very poor arguments are just slander:

Look. I wasn’t surprised when Microsoft launched yet another patent/IP FUD attack against Linux and Open Source, and I’m not surprised that some organization with the Business Software Alliance as a member is attacking Open Source.

Break it on down now

You need to understand something: the BSA is basically a front organization for Microsoft and has consistently and continuously lobbied against Free and Open Source Software.

They have done everything anti-Open Source they can short of printing up stickers of Calvin pissing on a penguin.

To understand where the BSA is coming from – or if you find yourself in need of an emetic – read its 2005 publication Open Source and Commercial Software: An In-Depth Analysis of the Issues. The bias against Free and Open Source Software is present in virtually every single sentence; much of it serves as talking points for Microsoft apologists and the IIPA “report”.


Dana Blankenhorn has said that it's time "to name and shame the anti-open source extremists". His argument goes like this:

Since I began writing this blog in 2005 I have watched open source move from a fringe idea to something embraced by the IT mainstream.

But there are still extremists out there who want to destroy open source. Some of their names may surprise you.

What they have done is retreat into a group where they seek not to be identified.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance dates from 1984, before open source began, and is thus the perfect front group for this activity.

[...]

If the BSA’s position has reversed, if it now wants to use the force of the U.S. government to drive open source under, then its members are also against open source. But the BSA’s membership includes IBM, HP, Cisco, Adobe, and Dell — some of the biggest boosters and biggest beneficiaries of open source on the planet.

It’s time to ask these companies. Do you agree with the position of the trade group you belong to? Should you continue to support a trade group that is acting against your corporate interests?


There is other coverage that includes a rebuttal from the Against Monopoly Web site.

The reason they should be put on the list? Their governments encourage (but do not mandate) their administrations to use open source software. Obviously, this reduces the revenue of cost software vendors and publishers, but it is a real stretch to call this piracy. The governments are simply making business decisions, weighing costs and benefits. And given the quality of open source software and operating systems, that decision is rather easy.


This would not be the first time that the BSA is doing this. Previous examples that we gave here involved Firefox and Fedora, but these examples go back almost 4 years. It's useful to know that the BSA is still acting like Microsoft's bulldog, spreading the illusion that "Free" (as in freedom and sometimes price too) is illegal. No doubts are left about the BSA's agenda. As Blankenhorn has argued, IBM, HP, Cisco, and Dell should withdraw BSA funding. As it stands, these companies indirectly support software patents in Europe and also attempt to illegalise Free software.

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