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Josh Lerner and Mark Schankerman Paid by Microsoft for Open Source Spin (and Alexis de Tocqueville Institution Recalled)

Writers sponsored by Microsoft

Stocking for business



Summary: A followup to an incident which was mentioned yesterday in a rush (Microsoft pays professors to write venomously about Microsoft's competition); Microsoft works hard to disguise its assault on software freedom

LAST night we wrote about a so-called 'study' or book that Microsoft was funding, noting that the results were unsurprisingly like those which Microsoft wanted. Once again the London School of Economics (LSE) was involved; we've mentioned before how Microsoft uses it. A few hours ago Groklaw responded to the same thing by saying: "What an amazing coincidence. Two researchers take Microsoft money, no strings attached, mind you, and then after much study just happen to come to the same conclusions as Microsoft's talking points."



On exactly the same day that we mentioned this Wayne Borean wrote about the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, which we alluded to in the post. He caught up with where the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (ADTI) is today and to repeat what we put in our daily links for the afternoon:

However ADTI had first become publicly noticed a few years prior, when as part of the 1998 Tobacco Settlement Agreement, the Philip Morris corporation released millions of pages of documents concerning their operations. In them was evidence that Philip Morris had hired ADTI to campaign against tobacco regulations.

It’s a rather curious that an institution dedicated to the ‘ideas and ideals’ of Alexis de Tocqueville, on the extension and perfection of democracy would be working as hired guns for the tobacco industry. And if they worked as hired guns for the tobacco industry, who else have they worked for? Microsoft was suggested immediately after the UPI article was published.

In May of 2004 our questions were answered. ADTI put out a press release stating that Linux could suffer from patent issues. The original press release has vanished from the ADTI site, but a copy is here. The press release appeared to have only one reason for existence, to push users away from Free and Open Source Software, and towards using proprietary software.

The final capstone was a week later, when ADTI put out another press release in which they questioned whether Linus Torvalds really wrote Linux, which Pamela Jones deconstructed at the time.

Later Ken Brown, the staffer who supposedly was writing a book exposing Linux, was exposed as a liar. Ken made claims about what certain people, including Andrew S. Tanenbaum, the man who designed and programmed the Minix operating system, said, and curiously every single person that he quoted disagreed with his quotes. Such a total repudiation is unusual to say the least.


So the question to ask is, did Josh Lerner and Mark Schankerman 'pull a Brown'? And if so, it should not surprise us because Microsoft has a history of bribing professors to promote its products and views. Right about now Microsoft has a huge PR campaign going (Josh Lerner and Mark Schankerman are living proof of it), trying to portray itself as an open source-friendly company so that it can devour it all. Groklaw has responded to it by saying: "Microsoft's announced dream is that "open source" applications run on Windows, instead of on Linux, and everything they do seems to harmonize with that goal. They still want to kill Linux. But why would you want to help them do it? Who do you trust more, Linus or Ballmer?"

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