Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Openwashing and Hatred of GNU/Linux

Summary: Microsoft's outrageous claim that it really "loves" that which it is constantly attacking gets rejected by Free/Open Source software (FOSS) luminaries; the Microsoft-friendly media continues the charm offensive nonetheless

THE CONTAGIOUS NEWS HEADLINES may still repeat and endlessly tell us all about Microsoft's lies -- something along the lines of Microsoft 'loving' Linux when it is perfectly clear that Microsoft as a whole is not 'loving' Linux but hating is with a great passion.



Here in Techrights we are not gullible enough to repeat these lies, unlike Microsoft propaganda sites, e.g. this nonsense from Microsoft MVP Rob Trent, pretending that Microsoft supports Linux. Simon Phipps, the OSI's President, is not gullible enough either. After debating with him in Twitter he came up with this article titled "Microsoft 'loves' Linux? Then stop attacking open source". It states:

According to Satya Nadella, Microsoft loves Linux. He said as much, complete with pictures -- and his team backs him up. In itself, it's a remarkable statement.

Nadella's predecessor, Steve Ballmer, described open source in the darkest terms, characterizing it (with the GNU GPL) as a commercial cancer and never retracting the slur. In many ways, that dark prophecy has come true for Microsoft, which has seen its rent-seeking business model steadily eroded by open source. Though it still has a cash cow to milk, Microsoft's monopolies no longer frighten anyone.

[...]

Microsoft carries a much greater burden of mistrust, arising from two decades of attacks on open source in general and Linux in particular, which makes its challenge even more formidable. Seasonally appropriate, the Halloween Documents show Microsoft's former internal thinking. It planned both business strategies and tactical dirty tricks to destroy the reputation of open source. While their public statements made no secret of the contempt with which it held open source, the Halloween Documents disclosed a depth of treachery that few suspected prior to their publication.

Today Microsoft has a major business unit asking its new CEO to declare love for Linux. That public stance is extremely welcome. But how can we know the current internal thinking? I asked Microsoft for an interview to discuss its love for Linux, as well as the potential of joining OIN. The response: "Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate your request at this time."


Phipps uses a similar analogy to the one I used last month (and the one he used in Twitter). He says: "The evidence suggests Microsoft "loves" Linux the same way abusive partners "love" their spouses -- a deep need in one area of the relationship that changes nothing elsewhere."

"OK," says our reader iophk about the above, "but ESR's home of the Halloween Documents is better than Wikipedia any day."

Sam Dean, who typically helps the Nadella-washing and openwashing of Microsoft, correctly asks http://ostatic.com/blog/does-microsofts-new-love-for-open-source-extend-beyond-the-cloud-team" title="Does Microsoft's New Love for Open Source Extend Beyond the Cloud Team?">"Does Microsoft's New Love for Open Source Extend Beyond the Cloud Team?" (love of extortion, profit and control over GNU/Linux)

He refers to Phipps article and says: "Simon Phipps, who is one of the world's leading experts on all things open source, has examined Microsoft's purported change of heart in a new column for InfoWorld. And, on a timely note, Phipps even reminds us of "The Halloween Documents"--a series of confidential Microsoft memoranda on potential strategies relating to open source and Linux that got leaked in 1998.

"It's worth remembering The Halloween Documents and the far reaching impact that the leaking of them had. As just one example of their influence, one of the memos was reportedly sent to the attention of senior vice-president Paul Maritz, and the memo characterized Linux as a giant threat to Microsoft's operating system dominance. Maritz, of course, went on to run VMware for several years, so Microsoft's historical opposition to open source likely didn't stay confined to its own walls."

Finally he ends this post about Microsoft with a sceptical, cautious view: "But the cloud computing division doesn't define Microsoft. The company needs to change its stance on open source from the top down, and while Satya Nadella appears to have respect for open source, his vision statement never mentions open source or Linux, which Phipps says is "slightly strange considering their centrality to his future, but a good sign in as much as nothing bad is said."

"In a response to my recent post asking whether Microsoft's stance has truly changed, one reader sent the following succinct response: "Yeah, no. This is the 'embrace' stage of Microsoft's classic strategy." That, too, could be true."

Susan Linton, who works with Sam Dean, asked, "didn't we hear all this changing of heart stuff before?"

Microsoft clearly does not love GNU/Linux. Anyone who believes it for a second says a lot about oneself. Here, for example, is a new example from a current Microsoft employee, Mr. Perlow. Ridiculously enough, he works for the CBS-owned ZDNet at the same time that he works for Microsoft] (not the only such example that makes ZDNet an utter joke which also takes money from the backdoors provider Cisco to post a pure ad as an 'article'). As one can see in Perlow's latest article, there is bashing of Wordpress & Drupal, using 'security', even though Perlow's employer, Microsoft, releases widely-used software with perpetual back doors. That's just one new example of hypocritical FOSS bashing from Microsoft staff, so who can possibly pretend that Microsoft has changed?

To say that Microsoft likes FOSS one would usually have to simply lie. Here is an ugly example of a lie from fedscoop.com. It is appalling openwashing by a site that claims to be 'news', trying to pretend that Microsoft proprietary spyware is "open source". Complete nonsense in this article (part of a Microsoft propaganda campaign) says: "Microsoft is quickly emerging as a major leader for open source."

Really?! What is this, a joke? The headline says "Microsoft helping government embrace open source programming". So yes, it's a joke. fedscoop.com is scooping up Microsoft's propaganda and some fools may actually swallow it. This is completely disconnected from the truth; it's when white means black and vice verse. Any complete nonsense that says Microsoft is "a major leader for open source" must be part of a propaganda campaign. Or maybe written by Microsoft partners/proxies.

The Microsoft-funded The Register has another disturbing news piece that goes along the lines of "Open XML", trying to pretend Office is "open" and that proprietary Office formats are "open". Richard Chirgwin from The Register is now openwashing Office 365 (surveillance plus proprietary software) using the classic APIs spin that we wrote about in 2009 and again in 2010. O'Reilly used this openwashing strategy, assisting Microsoft's propaganda after getting paid by Microsoft.

Here is a new example which follows the openwashing strategy of Facebook. A Microsoft-friendly site ended up openwashing a surveillance platform of Microsoft, resorting to gross misuse of the brand "Open Source" as it relates to putting together hardware.

"In the City of Love, Microsoft Courts Open Source," says one final example, but perhaps by "courts" it means "embraces" to extend and then extinguish. The article contains the famous new lie: "Last week, at a Microsoft event promoting its cloud business and future, Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, came out and said it: “Microsoft loves Linux.” He followed this up with an interview in Wired magazine, where he said now is the time to put old battles behind."

Yes, that is the same Microsoft which uses racketing, extortion and blackmail against GNU/Linux and FOSS. It is bribing its way into pretence of friendship, e.g. by paying conference organisers and media/sites. While the lies continue to saturate the media those who are not influenced by money or partnerships can fortunately still discern truth from fiction. Some actors out there are in the business of reality distortion.

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