Wow, great research on Microshaft s Linux!
Jun 30, 2005
3:54 PM EDT
|Will this article be posted here indefinitely, or do you have your own website? I'll definitely link to it from my Freedomware site - http://www.freedomware.us - when I find time. It's been months since I've had time to even touch that site, but I want to get it squared away sometime this summer.
I'd like to exchange notes with you. I live in Seattle and went from just another of Microsoft's victims to one of its biggest critics. Microsoft wasn't even on my agenda when I first ran for public office, in 1999. I was gunning for a seat on the Seattle School Board and a local media wh*re who works for Microsoft sent me my first computer virus ever on the day of the general election. He said he was relaying it on behalf of Bill Gates, Senior, who said, "It just goes to show, you can never be too careful."
That was my first big clue that Bill Gates considers the Seattle School District his personal property, and he doesn't want any reformers trying to help the kids, lest they upset his apple cart. I've also been told - though I've never had time to verify it - that Preston, Gates & Ellis is closely involved with the school district's levies. That wouldn't surprise me; the school district (my former employer) is extraordinarily corrupt, and I know a variety of corporations are milking it for public relations, and they're probably getting some money out of it, too.
Also, a teacher from another city who's associated with the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (a right-wing think tank) tried to convince me to see a Preston, Gates & Ellis attorney who she swore helped them in their battle against Washington State's corrupt teachers union, (Sheez, EVERYTHING in this state's corrupt!) I told her that I didn't trust Preston Gates, but she tried to convince me that attorney's ethics would ensure this attorney's trustworthiness. I said, "Yeah, right." This was before the Abramoff scandal hit the fan.
I didn't know that Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet sat on the Washington Post's board of directors. That's very juicy information.
If Microsoft can get its team members on the board of such a powerful newspaper, how much influence do you suppose they've gained in the open source community?
When I ask such questions, people invariably dismiss me as a "conspiracy theorist" - the bad kind, of course. But only a fool would suggest that Microsoft has NO operatives running around in open source circles.
During my last two campaigns for public office, I made Microsoft and Linux campaign issues. I wasn't surprised when no Seattle media mentioned my crusade against Microsoft. What amazed me was the fact that not ONE open source group or publication mentioned my campaign, either. I wrote a brief article for Slashdot, and they promptly rejected it. I contacted some other Linux groups, and they greeted me with silence. I was banned from Democratic Underground.
I'm also puzzled by the lack of big Linux news for so many months. Firefox has been kicking butt in the browser wars, and this is the perfect time for Linux to score with a dynamic new operating system upgrade, with Longhorn still many months away. But not a peep from the Linux crowd.
My hunch is that Microsoft has infiltrated the open source community to a far greater degree than most people realize. For that reason, along with the corruption that pervades so many of our institutions, I suspect that Microsoft may never have a credible challenger from inside the U.S. I think the only hope may be for some other nation - perhaps China, Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba or India - to get behind LInux and really do battle with Microsoft.
One last comment - I'm sick and tired of the open source argument that there's no need to get political when dealing with Microsoft; "All we have to do is build a better operating system, and we'll gradually eat away Microsoft's market share!"
Don't count on it. True, open source software is taking a toll, but far too slowly, giving Bill Gates plenty of time to plot all sorts of nasty tricks. With friends like George W. Bush and the communist Chinese government, Gates is capable of just about anything. Anyone who's truly concerned about Microsoft needs to take off the gloves - and their blinders.
Thanks again for a great article.
Jun 30, 2005
4:45 PM EDT
|DavidB -- This site represents what used to be Linux news -- the reason you're not "seeing" a lot of news the way you'd expect, is because the best Linux news sites are community news site, like this one. Oh, and running a news site is not trivial. This site was started by the same guy who (along with Dwight Johnson) started LinuxToday.com back in 1998 -- That's Dave Whitinger.
The moment you get an advertising focus you begin to have problems with linking to outside content. I know this subject extremely well, so hear me out -- and the things you're allowed to say begin to have a greater context when there's some kind of Corporate Involvment.
There's only so many writers a commercial news web site can have on hand, and they'd better be extremely good, and be willing to work for small amounts of cash relatively speaking. The end effect is that the news you see the most outside of Linux news sites is often shill-created garbage. People that tried to write honestly about Linux for a living have to be employed doing other things for cash -- often in large enterprise-class settings, there's a muzzle of sorts. You're often not allowed to write about your field of specialty without corporate concent.
This leaves the landscape in a state of anonymous sourcing or covered by people that don't know the truth about the situation, because they haven't been that close to it (there are rare exceptions). One of the truths that isn't getting covered a lot in the press: Linux is kicking butt in the corporate arena. It's being used all over the place. It's not making "quiet inroads", it's silently smashing the corporate sound barrier.
As for your comments about political process: spot on. If there was a time to rally the troops and get them involved in lobbying their own represenatives -- this is it. I've written myself about this numerous times and never felt that people were against the idea -- it's just that geeks and politics just don't seem to mix all that well (Slashdot does try to have categorized political stories, but it's just not enough).
I don't know what it's going to take to wake us up -- maybe it'll just end up being an American thing, with the rest of the world slowly embracing the whole underlying idea of Democracy for software (Free Software, in my humble opinion, is pretty much this) while corporate America gets the legal system in the US tailored to closing it (and competition for Microsoft) off.
I'd like to see your story... It may be late, but it's never too late.
Jun 30, 2005
6:52 PM EDT
Not much I can add to Paul's comment. He sums it up well. But I'll build just a little bit on it.
To answer your question about the residence of the article - I write for this site among other publications and the content stays here. So, you will always find it in the archives.
Please submit your story or else publish on your web site and we'll link to it.
You'll see more about the Microsoft issue in the coming days.
One other point, I don't believe Microsoft people have infiltrated the Linux community. We're pretty good at recognizing astroturfers because they don't know the dialect. If you've ever been to a party and stayed sober while everyone else got really canned, you should relate.
Jun 30, 2005
7:49 PM EDT
|Thanks for the feedback. But keep in mind that Microsoft operatives aren't necessarily clueless about open source; Microsoft can buy out Linux buffs just as they buy anyone else.
In fact, I've had some rather bizarre experiences with a few Linux groups and websites. Remember, also, that open source buffs aren't necessarily liberal or any other political persuasion. I've run into some right-wing Linux fans who attacked me quite viciously when they learned I was campaigning against Microsoft. (Incidentally, I consider myself an independent, not liberal, for whatever it's worth.)
To this day, I've learned of just one other political candidate in the nation who has campaigned against Microsoft or for Linux, and I don't think she was that serious. I find that really odd. I've discovered some dynamic candidates putting software on the agenda in Spain and a few other nations.
Oh, yeah, I just remembered another odd experience. During my last political campaign, all the media ignored me, as usual, including - as I mentioned before - SlashDot.org. But one of my opponents got all kinds of publicity, even though she was a complete idiot with virtually no campaign issues. She certainly had nothing to say about software, so I was amazed when I saw an article about her in some international web publication that focuses largely on high-tech issues. I can't think of the name offhand, but it operates out of the UK.
Anyway, this lady supposedly discovered links to pornogrpahic websites on Washington State's Superintendent of Public Instruction's website. So I contacted this publication and asked how that qualifies as international news, and if it IS newsworthy, then surely they'd be interested in learning that I'm campaigning against Bill Gates in his own backyard.
I do have some good news, though - it appears to me that the public relations tide is turning. When people used to bash Microsoft on the forums at DemocraticUnderground.com, the response was often mixed roughly 50/50 for and against Microsoft, even if their only support was based on Bill Gates' phony "philanthropy."
Nowadays, I see almost no one supporting Microsoft there. Gates has even received a lot of bad publicity here in Seattle. Besides the Preston Gates fiasco, he and Paul Allen have virtually taken over the Seattle Center - the city's premier landmark - bilking the taxpayers out of millions of dollars. I think it's almost comical that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation can't or won't even pay fair rent!
Jul 01, 2005
4:45 AM EDT
|PaulFerris is making an interesting point about the corporate use of Linux here.
I'd like to add some points to this;
One guy (don't know who it was anymore) once said: "All we (open source; Linux) have to do, is make sure, that the money involved with open-source use, is bigger than the $60Million MS has to offer". That implies, when that point is reached, MS can't buy off open source anymore.
Disregarding politics, it's going towards that point. You might know LXer member Adam started the Linux-migration list (great list by the way!). Please look at the top bar of the LXer site, and you see "Newswire, events, forum, and then Migrations". When you click on that link, you get a lengthy list of 'groups' (most government/corporate) migrating to Linux. Now, I've also been working on this list, and it's really stumbling. Today I added the 275th entry, and most of the entries are US-groups! It covers really big things (Like India National Bank, cities of Barcelona, Geneva, Muenchen, Houston, Vienna and Beijing, US army, many insurance and IT-companies and so on), but you really should see it for yourself. That's only the companies, of which we know they use Linux, because most companies don't want to tell (one reason is, MS starts annoying them by phone if they smell they might use Linux). But I have to stress, it's not only Europe/Asia, but very much in the United States as well! (Starts over here: http://lxer.com/module/db/viewby.php?dbn=12&sort=112&uid=108... 130 US entries at the moment).
So there's more use of Linux than most of us can perceive, and it's only when you start helping on such a thing like a list of groups migrating to Linux, that you see the impact it really has. But for some reason, there's too much silence compared to that impact. That reason might as well be political power of Microsoft (and the power to annoy corporate Linux users by phone).
As an European, I see only one way of decreasing the political power of MS: It should be forbidden for companies to pay money to politicians (that largely means campaign funding). As far as I know it's forbidden in the country where I live, and it helps a great bit reducing the power large companies with much money have. That's a change only the (US-)voters can make I think, because they're the only one more powerful (in politics) than large companies at the moment, and that's also true for the EU.
Jul 01, 2005
6:41 AM EDT
|DaveB : wrote
Quoting:Thanks for the feedback. But keep in mind that Microsoft operatives aren't necessarily clueless about open source; Microsoft can buy out Linux buffs just as they buy anyone else.
This is true, and does happen, though I think it's actually backfiring more inside MSFT than hurting F/OSS software. As MSFT gains more and more F/OSS programmers(note the recent Gentoo guy moving to MSFT) MSFT opens and softens it's stance more and more. of course it could be a prelude to be nice and friendly to F/OSS and when their guard is down stab them in the back(Sun???)
Of course what started as the laughable shared source, has turned into several pure Open Source projects. Who is converting Who is probably a good question to ask about MSFT internally.
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