Saturday, February 25, 2006

LXer: Microsoft and Officials in IBM's Linux Hot Tub

He really started to lose me here:

"Have you ever chronicled the US Government's efforts to litigate Microsoft? When you step back and take a look, it seems as though the Department of Justice shopped around for a friendly judge and finally got one. You might even consider that we have a former president with conflicts of interest with Microsoft and his cabinet."


Well, my post (reproduced below) was listed 5 minutes after I posted it, but it is gone now. That's one reason I started this blog. People deleting things they don't agree with rather than responding to them burns my toast (second time it has happened too). This adolescent attitude doesn't do the Open Source movement any more good than partisan politics does. Too bad. I really respected this guy for a while. Now the LXer blog joins the ranks of kooks who show up on Coast to Coast AM. Amusing background chatter.

Oh please.

It just occurred to me the other day what an oxymoron the expression "Vast (right or left) wing conspiracy" is. There are indeed conspiracies that go on from time to time and the rapidity with witch they become unraveled I suspect is directly proportional to their size.

More frequently these "conspiracies" are simply people with common interests, working independently and going in the same general direction. The fact is, that for most politicians, of either party, the open vs closed source software debate isn't even on the radar screen. I don't expect that to change once Bush leaves office either. Clinton was a computer ignoramus, I bet Bush is too. Gore was said to be comfortable working his speeches on a laptop and had he more than a typical politicians knowledge of computer technology he would have been much more precise about how he stated his accomplishments with regard to the Internet.

You are one of the best proponents of "Open Source in the public sector" out there. I've read your stuff in various venues for several years now, but lately some of your articles seem more appropriate for Maybe you should start a politically oriented blog along the lines of Eric Raymond's "Armed and Dangerous".

Linux, and open source will succeed or fail in spite of corrupt politicians, and surprisingly, in spite of corrupt entrenched middle management (which I think is a more fertile ground for conspiracy theorists). When I was at the Departments of Energy and State, Windows software became the required standard from those petty bureaucrats right about the time Clinton took office. Well, that certainly helped me dislike the man even more intensely, but it would have never occurred to me that the White House was the source of the problem, and it still doesn't occur to me today.

Give Microsoft credit where it is due, as an effective marketing organization. If you want parallels in history, go back to when IBM was letting technology take back seat to marketing in the 60s and 70s. I advised some relatives to invest in Digital Equipment Corporation at the time, and they got rich. Microsoft stock is being punish for being an "all smoke and mirrors" company. I see no change in sight, other than it possibly getting worse. Let them stew in their own juices, maybe with a little help from embarrassing IBM/SCO disclosure documents and so on. Leave politics out of it. I really think you are injecting your own political emotions where they don't belong and where they can't do anything but muddle the issues involved.

I would have loved to see Microsoft broken up back in the Judge Jackson days, but he shot his mouth off in public about a case still under consideration. You can't blame any politician for that. As you've noted, lawyers like Boise play both sides of the fence in both politics and technology, let's leave the lawyers out of it too. They're all suspicious characters in my view. And most lobbyists are nothing more than lawyers who have chosen not to practice law. An even worse group of characters.

But consider that if Microsoft had been broken up back then they might be much more of a powerhouse than they are now. There are in fact quite a few Microsofties who WANT the company to break itself up, downsize, or simplify their product offerings. I'd like nothing better than to see Microsoft plop their user interface on top of a Linux base. It could happen. The only downside is I'd have to stop hating them so much. It would be tough.

But let's keep emotions out of it shall we? Emotions of all kinds, political, corporate, and even technical. I know some of us love Linux and Open Source even when they don't deserve to be loved. But let's keep that our little secret. We don't want to be thought of as a conspiracy do we?

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