Microsoft deeds are the problem

Microsoft's actions -- all its actions -- should be considered when open source advocates, or customers, are looking at the company and its products.

At OSBC Microsoft's latest spokesman to the open source world, Robert Youngjohns, (right) asked that the company be judged not by its words regarding open source, but its actions.

Trying hard to be nice and flexible our own Matt Asay, who is a director of OSBC, asked about attempts by Microsoft to "lock-in" customers, something anathema to the ideals of open source and in conflict with open standards.

I'm afraid that what Matt got in response was gobbledygook.

It is, in fact, Microsoft's actions, and not its words, that are the problem:

  1. Microsoft claims patents covering Linux, and signs "cross-license" deals with embedded Linux firms that explicitly acknowledge those claims.
  2. Microsoft sued TomTom for infringing those claimed patents.
  3. Microsoft SharePoint is all about locking customers in to proprietary standards.
  4. The whole Office Open XML (OOXML) mess before the ISO was about making proprietary code a standard everyone would have to follow.

Those are actions, Mr. Youngjohns. Maybe you mean we should ignore the actions that put Microsoft in a bad light with open source and only consider those which put it in a good light?

Or maybe you mean we should ignore any actions you, Mr. Youngjohns, were not a part of. This is a common bureaucratic dodge, one that makes me more angry than I can say.

Microsoft, as a company, is an individual under the law. Microsoft's actions -- all its actions -- should be considered when open source advocates, or customers, are looking at the company and its products.

You can't make a little nice-nice or toss some French code over the side and then credibly pretend you're a penguin.

This good cop-bad cop routine has gotten very, very old. Anyone in open source who deals with Microsoft knows what they are walking into.

Stop pretending to be our friend.

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