Telling Lies: ESR on Microsoft
At www.suntimes.com/output/tech/cst-fin-micro01.html, Steve Ballmer of Microsoft answered this question:
Q: Do you view Linux and the open-source movement as a threat to Microsoft?
A: “Yeah. It's good competition. It will force us to be innovative. It will force us to justify the prices and value that we deliver. And that's only healthy. The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody. Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works.”
Let's examine the key sentences:
* Open source is not available to commercial companies.
The last I checked, Red Hat Software, VA Linux Systems, IBM, SGI, and Hewlett-Packard were all “commercial companies”.
I wonder what the developers at Microsoft who based the Internet protocol code of Windows on the open-source Berkeley TCP/IP stack think of this assertion?
* The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source.
60% of the world uses the open-source Apache program to serve their web pages. The next time you hear of Apache use forcing anybody's software open will be the first.
* If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain.
True. Of course, “the government” doesn't own Linux and has very little to do with Linux development, so it's hard to see what Ballmer is recommending here.
* Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.
Lots of people have proprietary software and data on their Linux machines. The next time you hear of Linux “attaching” itself to any of this data and forcing it open will be the first.
* That's the way that the license works.
The GPL infects only derivative works of GPLed software -- you have to include part of the source code of a GPLed program in your program, or choose to link to a GPLed library, before the GPL applies to your code. You can use a Linux kernel and Linux-hosted programs all you like with never a worry about your intellectual property.
Other open-source licenses—such as the BSD license in the TCP/IP stack that Microsoft adapted for Windows—will never infect anybody's code or data, because they're designed not to. But Ballmer wants business people and the public to fear them all, because only if open source is general is discredited will Microsoft maintain its monopoly.
The Big Lie is a term originally coined to describe a characteristic form of Nazi (and later Soviet) propaganda. The essence of the Big Lie propaganda technique is that if you repeat the lie often enough over enough channels, people will soak it up through their pores and come to believe it as something “everybody knows”.
In the last three months, Jim Allchin and Craig Mundie and Steve Ballmer have launched a classic Big Lie campaign against open source. They have described it as “un-American”, “a destroyer”, and “a cancer”. They have deliberately confused the GPL with non-infectious open-source licenses, and they have deliberately confused active combination of code with passive aggregation of data. They have lied, and lied, and lied again.
Why? Because the most truthful thing Ballmer admitted in that interview is that yeah, Linux *is* a threat to Microsoft. It threatens to break Microsoft's 91% monopoly on personal-computer operating systems. It threatens to free consumers from proprietary lock-in, and to deliver better software and more choices at lower cost.
Two years ago, the Halloween Documents observed that in order to defeat the threat of open source, Microsoft must attack “a process, not a company”. That is exactly what Allchin and Mundie and Ballmer are doing now, attacking with a Big Lie software they know they cannot match in reliability, sophistication, security, and overall cost/benefit ratio.
In the open-source community, we have a favorite quote from Mohandas Gandhi: “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.”
Evidently, we're getting close to winning.
|Designing Electronics with Linux||May 22, 2013|
|Dynamic DNS—an Object Lesson in Problem Solving||May 21, 2013|
|Using Salt Stack and Vagrant for Drupal Development||May 20, 2013|
|Making Linux and Android Get Along (It's Not as Hard as It Sounds)||May 16, 2013|
|Drupal Is a Framework: Why Everyone Needs to Understand This||May 15, 2013|
|Home, My Backup Data Center||May 13, 2013|
- Designing Electronics with Linux
- Making Linux and Android Get Along (It's Not as Hard as It Sounds)
- Dynamic DNS—an Object Lesson in Problem Solving
- New Products
- Using Salt Stack and Vagrant for Drupal Development
- Validate an E-Mail Address with PHP, the Right Way
- Build a Skype Server for Your Home Phone System
- Why Python?
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- A Topic for Discussion - Open Source Feature-Richness?
- Not free anymore
1 hour 2 min ago
4 hours 49 min ago
- Reply to comment | Linux Journal
4 hours 57 min ago
- Understanding the Linux Kernel
7 hours 12 min ago
9 hours 42 min ago
- Kernel Problem
19 hours 45 min ago
- BASH script to log IPs on public web server
1 day 12 min ago
1 day 3 hours ago
- Reply to comment | Linux Journal
1 day 4 hours ago
- All the articles you talked
1 day 6 hours ago
Enter to Win an Adafruit Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit for Raspberry Pi
It's Raspberry Pi month at Linux Journal. Each week in May, Adafruit will be giving away a Pi-related prize to a lucky, randomly drawn LJ reader. Winners will be announced weekly.
Fill out the fields below to enter to win this week's prize-- a Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit for Raspberry Pi.
Congratulations to our winners so far:
- 5-8-13, Pi Starter Pack: Jack Davis
- 5-15-13, Pi Model B 512MB RAM: Patrick Dunn
- 5-21-13, Prototyping Pi Plate Kit: Philip Kirby
- Next winner announced on 5-27-13!
Free Webinar: Hadoop
How to Build an Optimal Hadoop Cluster to Store and Maintain Unlimited Amounts of Data Using Microservers
Realizing the promise of Apache® Hadoop® requires the effective deployment of compute, memory, storage and networking to achieve optimal results. With its flexibility and multitude of options, it is easy to over or under provision the server infrastructure, resulting in poor performance and high TCO. Join us for an in depth, technical discussion with industry experts from leading Hadoop and server companies who will provide insights into the key considerations for designing and deploying an optimal Hadoop cluster.
Some of key questions to be discussed are:
- What is the “typical” Hadoop cluster and what should be installed on the different machine types?
- Why should you consider the typical workload patterns when making your hardware decisions?
- Are all microservers created equal for Hadoop deployments?
- How do I plan for expansion if I require more compute, memory, storage or networking?