Bonum Certa Men Certa

When Microsoft is Using (and Paying) Celebrities to Ridicule GNU/Linux

Summary: Linux, Google and GNU the target of some new type of FUD, where people whom Microsoft is promoting shamelessly target particular GNU/Linux-based products

Microsoft is losing its identity very fast. There is poor coordination in general and strategy in areas like servers and mobile is very much deficient or defunct. Top-level staff is leaving (Muktware covered that also) and the new CEO is joined by an AstroTurfing guy. Muktware has been good at covering these sorts of things (AstroTurfing and trolling as a priority) and its founder now remarks on Microsoft's anti-GNU/Linux ads (Chromebook is GNU/Linux by another brand). To quote his new post about one of the most infamous "ads" (using entertainment media to implant FUD): "I have never been into the ‘idiot box’; I mostly watch documentaries. However we were on vacation at Myrtle Beach last month and it was snowing so we were stuck in the hotel room, that’s when I got hooked to DirectTV’s shows. I have become addicted to the Pawn Stars and do enjoy it a lot. I admire the owner of the shop Rick Harrison who has immense knowledge and great skills to spot fake. Unfortunately, for him, I was surfing the net I came across Microsoft’s propaganda website (something similar to Vladimir Putin’s Russia Today) Scroogled News and there was an ad by Microsoft featuring the Pawn Stars team.



"I learned that’s the much criticized ad. Companies run such ads all the time, but Microsoft goes to that extra mile of pissing off their competitor without showing any sign of ethics or morality. I knew that was a propaganda ad, as Microsoft now has someone on team who has helped US/UK politicians so we can expect more below-the-belt ‘religious’ kind of attacks from this 30-year-old dinosaur."

FUD against GNU/Linux can take all sorts of angles, targets, etc. But it remains what it is. On the Web, and even in niche forums [1], there seems to be a phenomenon that's manufactured. Almost nobody would normally have an incentive to smear Free software 24/7, or to launch ad hominem attacks against people like Richard Stallman. In politics it's common for such attacks to be funded directly or indirectly by those who stand to gain.

A lot of GNU/Linux is build by volunteers with a passion. Even Fedora's packagers, despite the project being Red Hat's, are often volunteers [2]. There is no lack of people who are willing, sometimes for a fee, to slam volunteers, journalists, activists. Corporations hire them through proxies every now and then. We exposed a few of them (e.g. people whom Microsoft bribed to smear Microsoft's competition) and we saw many talking points repeated as though they were sourced from Microsoft (the lobbyists of Microsoft habitually repeat the same 'manuals').

FUD sometimes comes also from within.

One of our readers goes further by alleging that [3] is just some "spin used to slam perl."

"The real problem," he explains, "which should have been in the closing, is not to mix installation methods. Stick purely with one method or the other."

The article, "Package Management and Perl", is unlikely to be anything that's paid for by Perl foes/, but this same reader of ours showed us many provocatives articles about Perl spreading myths that by extension make Free software look "difficult".

What needs to be done is simple. Rebuttals are needed. We should aspire to correct false or inaccurate messages, or point out where these are coming from.

Related/contextual items from the news:


  1. Linux Distro’s, FOSS and the advocates behind them – Some food for thought?
    This article has been inspired somewhat by a group of people who for many years (for reasons unknown) have targeted Linux newsgroups and forums with the sole purpose of disrupting the advocacy that occurs. These “people” will use any means necessary in order to do that and looking at the amount of posts they make all day every day, one has to conclude that either they have a financial interest in free software being hobbled in the eyes of the mainstream, or worse, they merely have nothing else to do but post all day. One chap in particular who I believe falls into the later category has recently (on top of thousands of words in posts daily) taken to making videos to highlight these “major issues” with Linux. Now just what an allegedly married man with kids and a computer business is thinking of spending so much time in this way is anyone’s guess but it did help to inspire this article.


  2. Who helps your Linux distribution run smoothly? Thank a packager today
    The people behind the scenes who work tirelessly to make your Linux distribution run smoothly are the packagers. The vast majority of Linux packagers are volunteers who dedicate their evenings and weekends to create and maintain the gears of the Linux distributions they love.


  3. Package Management and Perl
    Anyone who lived through the bad old days of compiling software from source on Linux remembers well the frustration of upgrading one package only to find that it breaks another. I like to think that those days are behind us; and, for the most part, they are. Unfortunately, I found myself in an eerily similar situation after patching a CentOS 6 server, and then trying to run a scheduled Perl job.


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