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Sunday, January 6th, 2008, 8:56 am

…Then They Attack You, Then You Win

HERE are some thought about things I’ve observed in the past week.

Linux and Free Software FUD on the Rise in 2008

The attacks on OSS and Linux have ballooned since the new year began (LANCOR, Jeff Gould, McAfee and the ilk). I decided to just concentrate on squashing FUD and attacks. Please E-mail me (roy at schestowitz dot com) if you see something I have not covered somewhere on the Web. It’s something which must be addressed.

Be aware that Intel systematically spread FUD and sabotaged the OLPC project from the very start. The press never covered this properly. WSJ said that Intel staff also spread FUD in Peru. They were saying OLPC adapters should not work (a lie). Folks are encouraged to embargo Intel not only for this, but for its kickbacks as well. For two years, Intel has behaved like an appalling abusive monopoly, but the press did not cover the issues at hand. It looked the other way instead. When it comes to OLPC, Intel spread FUD. tried to gag Nick Negroponte with a ‘deal’ and also ‘competed’ by selling Classmate at a loss. Those who want to know the real story should start here.

Open Source in the United Kingdom

BECTA is responsible for the procurement of software in Britain’s educational sector, but its seems like a lost case based on what I’ve read. Such dinosaurs are dependent on the existence of software with acquisition costs attached. There are other issues however, including the danger of rocking the status quo boat.

Procurement is a matter of gut feeling or relationships. Pressuring those responsible by exposing them might be the most effective way to combat this habit. It seems to have worked out with the BBC, which gradually surrenders to pressure to stop its Windows-only affairs. One can find Mark Taylor’s piece in Groklaw (and Highfield’s hurried response to it). This shows how putting one’s job in jeopardy (for possible corruption) can lead to results.

GPL Lawsuits FUD

Some recent headline suggested the GPL is attacking, rather than being attacked (dishonoured). That was a fortnight ago. There is a lot of FUD at the moment in general. As pointed out above, McAfee brings back its 2006 FUD and attacks the GPL again.

Of course, McAfee relies on insecure systems to sell its products. It was caught spreading Linux FUD back in 2006 when it accused Linux of security problems. Fortunately, as a Linux user, I don’t even need to avoid McAfee products. McAfee are irrelevant to me. That’s why they are so afraid (defensive).

Where is the Old Open Source and What Did You Do to the Real One?

As the meaning of “open source” got so diluted and the business models of some new adopters assimilated to that of proprietary software, it become more apparent that Free software (as in GPL and its derivatives) was the way to go. That’s why GNU/Linux is so far ahead of open source in the enterprise when it comes to adoption.

In short, open source is something else whose value was radically warped. We have to ask ourselves if OSI-approved ‘open source’ means what it used to mean. If not, we’re killing the term and harm everyone who is honest, e.g. Digium, Red Hat, even MySQL. People ought to return to the term “Free software” and just emphasize that it’s about freedom. ‘Open source’ should have been more stubborn and selective. Have I lost hope in ‘open source’ because of the charts? No, that was months ago when I saw the thing devolving and called it quits.

Remember never to mix the penetration rates of open source with Free software such as GNU/Linux.

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