[NetBehaviour] Microsoft: Linux is anti-commercial

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Mon Nov 28 13:29:11 CET 2005

Linux is anti-commercial*

Ingrid Marson


November 25, 2005, 17:30 GMT

Microsoft asked for references to free software to be removed from a 
document presented at last week's UN World Summit on the Information 
Society (WSIS) conference, the software giant admitted on Friday.

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is unhappy that the document 
was changed and claims that even though it was on the panel discussing 
the document, it was not made aware of Microsoft's changes.

The document, known as the Vienna Conclusions, discusses issues around 
IT and creativity. The original draft of the document discussed how the 
free software model is changing the way people do business.

"Increasingly, revenue is generated not by selling content and digital 
works, as they can be freely distributed at almost no cost, but by 
offering services on top of them. The success of the free software model 
is one example," stated the original document, according to the FSFE.

But the final version of the document contains no reference to free 
software. "Increasingly, revenue is generated by offering services on 
top of contents," states the final version of the document.

Thomas Lutz, the manager of public affairs at Microsoft Austria, asked 
for this section to be deleted as "it contains only a one-sided 
perspective on the ICT industry."

"The rationale for this is, that the aim of free software is not to 
enable a healthy business on software but rather to make it even 
impossible to make any income on software as a commercial product," he 

Lutz' comments were posted on a conference blog, but Georg Greve, the 
president of FSFE, who was involved in drafting that section of the 
document, claims that no-one on his panel was aware of the blog until 
last week.

Greve criticised Lutz' comments as "Microsoft propaganda".

"This is so obviously stupid and nonsensical that it seems pointless to 
comment on it: Just another monopolist trying to uphold their monopoly 
by preventing freedom of markets - which is what Free Software really 
aims at," he said, on his blog.

But on Friday Lutz denied that the panel was unaware of these changes 
and confirmed that his blog postings are accurate.

"The Vienna Conclusions document was created through a democratic 
feedback process as requested by the committee and stated on the 
committee blog. Each and every participant of the conference was invited 
to publish contributions, share feedback and offer changes which 
facilitated discussion and an open exchange of positions," he told ZDNet 
UK. "All of our change requests were approved by the committee."

This is not the only change to the document that Microsoft brought 
about. In a later section of the same document, Lutz asked that a 
reference to the open source operating system Linux be removed as "this 
is only one particular - anti-commercial - specificity of the open 
source landscape."

Microsoft appears to have been stepping up its fight against Linux 
recently, with comments about open source 'dorks' and claims that Africa 
does not need free software.

This story was printed from ZDNet UK, located at http://news.zdnet.co.uk/
Story URL: 

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