EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.24.08

Sharing a Bed at OSCON with “the Next SCO Group”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, SCO at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft has had clear competitors in the past. It’s a good thing we have museums to document that.”

Bill Gates

A

lot of ambitious people turn soft at the sight of money. That’s just how Microsoft manages to infiltrate so many open source events and share its own (self-serving of course) point of view. The monopoly needs to build and defend the illusion that it’s just a friendly scorpion. While many inside Microsoft might believe this, the top management at Microsoft does not. it’s a publicity stunt, as proven several times in the past.

“It’s means of pressuring them to open up their gates to Gates.”Those who organise an open source event and refuse Microsoft’s attendance will most likely be called names. It’s means of pressuring them to open up their gates to Gates. Just watch Microsoft’s persistence with the OSA. A lot of this was dealt with before, so it needn’t really be repeated or elaborated on. OSCON was already mentioned yesterday. Also see our writings about OSBC 2008 [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and the issue of personal proximity.

At OSCON, Microsoft presence could not be ignored. In panels comprising only corporate players, Microsoft apparent role was irksome to some. Need it be mentioned that Microsoft paid OSCON (O’Reilly) for this? Mind our highlight in red.

Let’s rewind a bit. My Monday afternoon at OSCON 2008 was taken up by “Participate 08″, a Microsoft-sponsored discussion panel chaired by a whole panopoly of folks — including, yes, an open source liaison from Microsoft. The whole thing was neither a “corporate apologia” (as one wag put it from the audience) nor a pile-on where Microsoft got the worst of it. Their approach was only one of a diversity of perspectives, and sometimes not even the most eyebrow-raising.

Remember that Microsoft is also behind OSBC, which is about ‘commercialising’ “open source” — whatever that actually means. In the last OSBC event, Microsoft stole the show with a talk about software patents. That was Brad Smith and his keynote. It ruined the conference, which was sponsored (and apparently initiated) by Microsoft anyway. Shades of SourceForge (hijack, then instill fear and change principles).

Here is another interesting article.

The biggest sparks flew over the question of motivation — why individual developers choose to participate in open source. Several of the panelists mentioned pragmatic motivations such as self-education, career development, and desire to be associated with what is perceived as a successful and ethical movement. Since those motives apply to corporate participation, this line of discussion prompted audience member Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Law Center to ask the panel whether the session was a cheerleading session for commercial open source.

[...]

Interestingly enough, the topic Lakhani predicted would elicit the most debate — intellectual property — provided well-balanced, reasoned discussion.

All panelists agreed that IP was important in open source software. As Randall pointed out, if the framework of software licensing created to serve the proprietary software industry did not exist, then the GPL would not exist either. O’Mahony added that many nonprofit entities use IP law to accumulate, integrate, and protect information that is vital for future development.

Urlocker described MySQL’s frustration with software patents, including waffling on behalf of hybrid proprietary/open source companies, and fear on the part of pure open source organizations that lacked the resources to wage a legal fight over software patents.

Wilbanks lamented use of the blanket term “intellectual property” to conflate copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret law — concepts that have little to do with one another. Copyright law is incredibly powerful, written to serve publishers, and hinges on one fundamental: the right to sue someone else. Under these circumstances, he said, “we’re boned.” In the future, he hoped, open source can make better use of trademark concepts like branding — where the fundamental issue is the right to associate your work with something valuable. When the desire to claim association with a brand like “open source” is of bigger concern than the desire to sue, the conditions will be right for open source to thrive.

Lastly, see this blog post from a Sun/MySQL executive. He reminds us of how irrelevant Microsoft becomes to developers (Novell, Miguel de Icaza and their followers aside).

One skeptic remarked to me after the panel session that for Microsoft this is just a “photo op.” That is, it’s more about the appearances than anything else. I’m not sure whether that’s the case or not, but it’s still a question in many people’s minds. And as Brad Kuhn of the Software Freedom Law Center pointed out, many people still remember when Microsoft was trying to kill open source.

The irony of all this is that I think Microsoft is at risk of missing out on the next generation of developers. What’s in use at the hot startups these days? Hint: it’s not about VB, C# and .Net. Even startups by ex-Microsoft folks at companies like iLike are using the LAMP stack. I think for a lot of developers, Microsoft is less and less relevant. Which is a shame.

People deserve to know what Groklaw has to say about all of this Pamela Jones wrote: “I think it’s dangerous to let them anywhere near anything that matters until they pledge not to sue FOSS over patent infringement. All they are doing now is taking notes, I believe, and I am confident it will use what it learns against the community when it feels like it. And I wish everyone would get a bit smarter, so we at Groklaw and the legal contingent of the FOSS community don’t have to fix the mess you make. Yes. Seriously. I would suggest treating Microsoft as if they were already suing you personally. Because I believe they will.” She also believes that Microsoft is the next SCO.

At times like these, when Microsoft is quietly struggling, the worse one can do is throw Microsoft a bone. It’s prepared to bite. In order to understand the severity of the issue and of Microsoft’s fears, read this article from last night:

Top Microsoftie Jumps Ship

[...]

The loss of Johnson comes as a blow–he was widely considered to be in the running to one day succeed CEO Steve Ballmer.

In some people’s eyes, Microsoft has just lost its #2 man only weeks after Bill Gates had stepped down.

If some people out there still believe that Microsoft ‘understands’ (or groks) open source — let alone “open” — this one is a must-read for them.

Redefining Openness (with lawyers)

Ah, there we go! The surprise of the day really comes from -would you have guessed it?- Microsoft.

[...]

Now that’s an open standard of the open kind, open as in “open, but not open”; “open but actually quite closed” “open but get out of here”, open as in “open to the good old boys”, open as in “open to your money and to our profits”, open as in “open deception”. And of course, who thought OOXML could be that open? I’m sure the rest of my colleagues at the Afnor will be left in shock and awe when they learn the news. Everything they ever truly believed in , OOXML, was never thought in those terms. I can’t wait for XPS, guys, we’re going to have tons of fun, really. I am also waiting for Microsoft’s possible, albeit unlikely, explanation to this. I’m laughing so hard I’m about to roll on the floor.

Never forget what Microsoft once said about “openness”.

[More Open Than Open]: “I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Jason Matusow, arrogant xenophobe from Microsoft (for some background see [1, 2])

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

    Links for the day



  2. Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

    Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)



  3. Microsoft is Leaving Windows -- Including Vista 8.1 -- Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

    Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire



  4. Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

    Links for the day



  5. Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, 'Targeted' Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

    Links for the day



  6. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  7. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  8. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  9. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  10. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  11. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  12. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  13. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  15. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  16. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  17. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  18. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  19. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  20. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  21. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  22. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day



  23. KDE News: Kubuntu at the Centre Again KDE Applications Updated

    Links for the day



  24. Techrights Rising

    Effective immediately, Techrights will do what it takes to bring back old volume and pace of publishing



  25. Links: Surveillance, Intervention, Torture and Drones

    Links for the day



  26. Mobile Linux Not Just Android: Jolla, WebOS, and Firefox OS News

    Links for the day



  27. Google's Linux Revolution: New Gains for Android, Chrome OS (GNU/Linux)

    Links for the day



  28. Free/Libre Databases News: MongoDB, NoSQL, and MySQL Branches/Forks

    Links for the day



  29. Open Access on the Rise: Textbooks, Journals, Etc.

    Links for the day



  30. Finance Watch (Watching What's Not Being Watched): Economic Warfare/Class Injustice

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts