Is Microsoft engaging in digital imperialism?

In today's open source roundup: Microsoft may be using cloak and dagger tactics to attack open source and protect Windows. Plus: John Dvorak smacks the Linux beehive for page views, and don't forget developer stability when choosing a Linux distro


Microsoft has a history of playing hardball to promote and protect its Windows franchise, and it has never liked the open source software movement. Linux has been a particular concern of the Redmond giant over the years, and now Techrights is reporting that Microsoft may have engaged in some devious shenanigans to try and stop adoption of open source software around the world.

According to Techrights:

Windows, the common carrier of Microsoft, is such a sordid mess that it suffers regular glitches and conducts mass surveillance on users. Microsoft knows that without Windows it cannot survive, so dirty tricks resume in a very big way. This is not a beep on the radar but somewhat of a surge.

Nothing is going to change in Munich, but Microsoft is trying to maintain an international/universal perception that the migration to GNU/Linux was a disaster. Numerous anonymous blogs were created to attack Munich over this and provocateurs of Microsoft loved citing them, only to be repeatedly proven wrong. Microsoft is trying to make an example out of Munich in all sorts of nefarious ways. We need to defend Munich from this malicious assault by the convicted monopolist and corrupt enterprise that’s acting as though it fights for its very survival (while indeed laying off tens of thousands of employees).

More at Techrights
Microsoft's digital imperialism
Image credit: ZDNet
Hat tip: Reddit

The allegations in the article are quite disturbing, to say the least. Alas, they do not surprise me as this seems to be the real Microsoft. It's the Microsoft that I remember from the nineties when it used every dirty trick it could against Netscape and anyone else that stood in the way of Windows. Trying to destroy any company that threatened its Windows monopoly was par for the course for Microsoft in those days.

I have seen some articles recently that asked if Microsoft has become a friend to open source over the last few years, and I think the behavior detailed in this article puts the lie to that idea. Microsoft was never a friend to the open source movement and it certainly isn't now. But such press coverage is probably useful to the company as a cloak to hide behind while it tries to slip a dagger into the back of open source software.

I also noted in an earlier article this week my skepticism of some of the articles about Munich supposedly dumping open source. If Techrights is correct then it looks like Microsoft may have had a hand in promoting some of the negative press coverage of open source in Munich. Sometimes it's easy to smell a rat when you see a story like that suddenly cascading through technology media.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, none of its hardball shenanigans are going to work. Windows is on its way out, one way or another. And it's not just Linux or other open source software that is hurting Windows, it's Android and iOS and mobile in general. The shift to mobile has released many people from the shackles of Windows and it has shown them that they don't need Microsoft's software.

In the short term I think Microsoft's dirty tricks will no doubt continue, but over the long haul they'll slowly fade away as the company's power to influence people weakens. It's a sad thing to see a company like Microsoft reduced to this kind of behavior, but I think it's a mark of how desperate they've become to survive in a world that is slowly and inevitably leaving them behind.

John Dvorak smacks the Linux beehive for page views

Speaking of Munich, John Dvorak uses it as the opening to a diatribe about how Linux on the desktop has run out of time or something like that. Think carefully before you click through to read the article, I'll explain why below.

According to PC Magazine:

John Dvorak Linux
Image credit: Master of 500 Hats

I like Linux and would love to just go all-in with it as the mavens tell me I can do. But I cannot. I use these computers to make a living by writing and podcasting. I also produce photographic art as a hobby. I can't accomplish any of this with Linux.

Time has run out for there to be a must-have killer software package on Linux. Anyone writing such an application writes it for Mac or Windows, because that's where the customers are. All the super applications for Linux are on the server side and that ends the discussion. Yes, this could change someday. But that someday is not on the horizon.

Right now Linux on the desktop remains a cheap curiosity, that is kind of fun to play with when you are bored.

More at PC Magazine
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