FSF declares war on 'Bad Vista'

The Free Software Foundation says Vista is 'an upsell masquerading as an upgrade' as it launches as campaign to expose the new operating system's flaws
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor on

With the consumer launch of Microsoft Vista just over a month away, the Free Software Foundation has launched an anti-Vista campaign that aims to persuade businesses and individuals to consider alternative operating systems.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF), an advocate for open source, launched the "BadVista" website on Friday. It takes the fight against Vista on two fronts — usability and security.

According to the FSF, Vista is inflicting harm on computer users and is an attempt by Microsoft to get users and organisation to spend more money than they need to on software.

"Vista is an upsell masquerading as an upgrade," said John Sullivan, the FSF's program administrator, in a statement on the BadVista site.

Sullivan claimed that Vista is a Trojan horse, a new range of features that are even more restrictive than in Windows XP. The FSF says it is "focusing attention on detailing how they work, how to restrict them and why people should care".

Peter Brown, the executive director of the FSF, went further, accusing Microsoft of "embarking upon its largest-ever product launch, its marketing dollars [being] spent in an effort to fool the media and user community about the goals of Vista".

The FSF has launched a three-step attack on Vista. It intends organising its supports into effective action groups protesting Microsoft's "daylight theft of our freedoms", aggregating news stories about Vista "marketing propaganda" and providing a user gateway to free and open source alternatives.

Organisations have already voiced doubts, for different reasons, about the wisdom of users and organisations upgrading to Microsoft Vista quickly. But a survey by ZDNet UK indicates that many organisations are preparing ambitious plans for Vista upgrades.

According to our survey of 1,305 IT professionals, 46 percent are planning to upgrade their desktop operating systems and 41 percent are planning to upgrade to Vista. Some 70 percent of those who said they plan to upgrade said they plan to do it in the next 12 months.

But that survey also showed that users don't see themselves facing a choice of either Vista or open source. Some 68 percent of respondent in the survey said they also have Linux in their upgrade plans.

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