Think tank on “open source” — brought to Europe by proprietary software vendors
Companies which want to harm Free software and protect their monopolies have taken over panels discussing and creating policies about their competitors. They are there to actually write the policies and explanations about open source*. But they don’t even do open source. They are there to spread hostile misconceptions and strike out anything not favourable to themselves, just as Microsoft’s Geri Elliot did some years back (she quit Microsoft recently). Let’s not forget the OOXML corruptions and Microsoft’s attempts to ruin ODF by subverting and polluting it. Microsoft is doing the same thing to open source while mercilessly suing it.
But Microsoft is not so careless. It does not edit documents directly. It hires guns to do its work on its behalf. People like Zuck from the Microsoft pressure group ACT [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] (also related to ATL) and others from CompTIA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] totally hijacked a workgroup dealing with Free/open source software. They are spreading lies and disinformation all over the document, which reached Wikileaks. It’s summarised as follows.
This file is an edited version of the EU OSS Strategy draft with the input of Jonathan Zuck, President of the Association for Competitive Technology, an organisation that has strong ties with Microsoft.
The file is a draft for an expert panel formed by the European Commission. This panel is divided into workgroup (IPR, Open Source, digital life, etc.) ACT and Comptia have been infiltrating every workgroup, even the one on Open Source (WG 7). They are doing the best they can to drown any initiative that would not only promote OSS in Europe but also that could help Europe create a sucessful European software sector.
The audience for this document could be journalists who would be interested in getting to know more how lobbies of all kind influence the European institutions. Here it is perhaps even more stringent as ACT is clearly an US organization with ties to Microsoft. Verifications might not be easy as this is an internal draft. The best contact might be commission personnel: Lars.PEDERSEN@ec.europa.eu ; Michel.Lacroix@ec.europa.eu
It has been leaked as it is important to have the public know how actual policy making is being influenced by lobbies that are precisely under the legal scrutiny of the European Commission. The urgency of the publication of this document is real in the sense that outside pressure would foce the Commission to “clean the committees” or at least give a lesser credit to the work of this workgroup.
To those not familiar with Jonathan Zuck, here is a gentle introduction from Source Watch.
Jonathan Zuck is President of the Association for Competitive Technology and founder of Americans for Technology Leadership. He was very active on the software patents directive, taking a position in favor of patenting software. ACT seems to be tied to corporate members like Microsoft, and Mr Zuck has been visited by Mr Gates in February 2005. ACT has also taken positions to defend Microsoft against the antitrust ruling of the Commission.
Having read the above, should this American man be trustworthy inside a panel that writes about open source software? How about one in Europe? Here we have an American lobbyist working for an American monopolist writing recommendations on “open source” in another continent. And he’s not alone because there are other cronies right there. Look at what these people are writing:
“Regarding the “Europe Digital Independence” our group thinks it is, in general, not an issue. However there may be situation where a particular piece of software plays a key role in some economic activity or may create security related concerns under certain circumstances.”
There are so many other examples. In page 6 for instance:
….while noting that the increasing use of OSS within mainstream commercial offerings and mixed-source software and solutions makes a distinct treatment of or preferences for OSS more difficult to define.
They are trying to blur the gap and pretend that open source does not truly exist. Further down it says:
OSS as part of mixed solutions blending open and proprietary code.
In page 7 they pretend it’s just a complement to non-Free software.
…technologically viable alternative or complement to dominant proprietary products and services in some areas.
As the comment points out:
COMMENT: a) Free Software was never “hobbyist” or “garage” in origin. Its concepts are derived from science, and scientific progress and innovation through allowing co-innovation by all participants. I believe the true roots of Free Software are important, and a strength, so should be mentioned. b) It is important to avoid the false antonym “commercial” vs Free Software, because it falsely implies that the interest of the software industry in Free Software is not commercially motivated. The rephrasing also explicitly counteracts that misunderstanding by emphasising commercial Free Software.
in page 8, in large fonts it says:
Open Source Software cannot be 100 % free
COMMENT: Too strongly anti-American sentiments are most likely not helpful, so tried to rephrase to keep the notion of the problem intact, but rephrase it in a more diplomatic way.
In page 9:
Indeed, much of this business is generated by players who have mixed source business models, indicating how success for this ecosystem depends on a pragmatic approach towards both OSS and proprietary software.
MS comment: NESSI figures, full reference needed. Is this consistent with CompTIA’s claim: “an estimated €1.2 billion has been invested by European firms in open source software development” ??
FSFE comment: This number indeed seems high. It is probably true for large corporations, but may neglect the impact of SMEs?
For full realisation of what is happening there, the PDF needs to be seen with the colours included. It’s hysterical. It’s a sham.
In page 10, they strike out the entire truth. They don’t want anything that emphasises the advantages of free/open source software to be seen. They essentially sabotage the document and promote “Growth of the mixed model” (hey, who needs freedom anyway, right?).
The economic success of firms based on mixed model, however, suggests it is a promising model for the future.
3.1.6. The “mixed model” is also true for OSS users OSS users are companies, administrations, public institutions, schools and universities, SOHO enterprises, end users : they usually have to integrate and use different software components to meet their needs, proprietary or open source.”
In page 15 it states:
Open Source will never be THE solution which will modify the whole economy and the IT world. Open Source is not magic. The solution will come from an intelligent cohabitation and mix of proprietary and open source components. Then, it raises issues for users, services providers and industries.
It’s just like watching Microsoft moderating and watering down a document which states the obvious.
American lobbyists for Microsoft writing about “Europe Digital Independence”?Page 19 is about RAND and patents, which involve directly CompTIA. That lobbying arm suppresses such debate in the panel and even Erwin Tenhumberg, now a SAP employee, is peddling their party line. It might be useful to properly annotate the document to get all the contributions from each participant (also have them distinctly visible).
American lobbyists for Microsoft writing about “Europe Digital Independence”? What on Earth is that???
There is so much more in there that hasn’t been touched on yet, though it’s really outrageous. Those who are ruining this document should really barred from accessing Europe, not just prevented access to panels which discuss their direct opponents’ policies. These lobbyists tend to act as colonialists who cause damage by "schmoozing" European politicians (face to face) whenever they get the chance. What exactly needed to be done there in order to invade the panel?
Glyn Moody (in 2007) and Bruce Perens (in 2008) were both correct when they suggested that Microsoft would wave some “open source” flag just so that it can harm it from within, especially in Europe. Microsoft's evangelism notes may give insight into this strategy as Microsoft pretends to be “open source” so as to redefine and sabotage it from the inside. Thanks to Wikileaks, people can see it better for themselves — or better yet — start protesting about this scam which is the “European Open Source Software Workgroup.” It’s chaotic, it needs to be amended, and failing corrective intervention it must be shunned or ignored. █
* All for personal gain that directly harms those which the report is about.