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Re: I guess Microsoft likes Open Source after all.

  • Subject: Re: I guess Microsoft likes Open Source after all.
  • From: r.e.ballard@xxxxxxx
  • Date: 20 Sep 2005 05:03:23 -0700
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Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> __/ [mlw] on Monday 19 September 2005 11:18 \__
> > http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1859439,00.asp

The headline here is that Microsoft is adopting MPI and installing it
in Windows 2003.  MPI is open source software.

But let's look at the track record:

Microsoft adopted http and html, even licenced the Open Source Mozaic
browser, then "enhanced it" with ActiveX controls - making it
vulnerable to thousands of malicious viruses and trojan horse attacks.

Microsoft adopted tcp/ip, then "enhanced it" with dhcp which made it
nearly impossible to trace malicious attacks back to their source.

Microsoft adopted ldap, then enhanced "Active Directory" with
identification which helped it trace piracy, but it also made it easier
to track and crack accesses to LDAP, making passwords and identities
easier to spoof and track.

Microsoft adopted smtp and mime, and then they enhanced it with ActiveX
and other "hot display" technologies which made it possible to catch a
virus or trojan by simply previewing a message.

Keep in mind that almost all of these implementations were based on
Open Source licenses that did not force give-back features.  In many
cases, the enhancements were implemented as plug-ins, code deliberately
kept isolated from the other code.

Ironically, many patches published for Linux patch the same code
Microsoft uses, but these patches are ONLY released under the GPL.
This leaves Microsoft with a conundrum.  They can't apply the patch
without violating copyright laws, but they can't leave the code
unpatched because this would make them negligent and potentially

Microsoft has a very solution.  First, they put EVERYTHING under
nondisclosure.  Even memos as to which bugs Microsoft knows about
"officially" is considered confidential.  Even if a patch is released
under GPL, Microsoft can simply apply the patch and use their NDAs as
defense.  If the judge rules against them, they can bury it quickly
with a settlement, usually involving payments made using Microsoft
Software valued at MSRP.  In worst case scenarios, where the judge is
likely to rule that the NDAs are merely obstruction of Justice,
Microsoft might offer a cash settlement, if the other party agrees to
have the records sealed and agrees to an NDA which expressly forbids
disclosure of this matter.

The advantage of having all of the records sealed, is that these sealed
records can only be reopened if a criminal investigation is being
conducted, and only the FBI would have the jurisdiction to open a
criminal investigation that could unseal all of the records in all of
these cases.  The FBI could open such an investigation under the RICO
act, but would not be able to do much without making public
disclosures, which could complicate the prosecution.

Second, use the EULA to force the end user to indemnify Microsoft
against all damages, even those caused by installing and configuring
software that is known to be destructive, to expose users to viruses,
or that simply causes the machine to crash when the correct signal is
sent.  In fact, under the Microsoft EULA, Microsoft can even completely
reformat your hard drive, and still be exempt from all damages and

Nearly everyone wants to protect THEIR intellectual property.  They
want everyone to pay for the technology they created, regardless of how
trivial it is.  On the other hand they want to minimalize the value of
everyone else's intellectual property.

IE helped Microsoft sell hundreds of millions of copies of Windows from
Windows 95 to Windows XP, and played a critical role in the transition
from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 and Windows NT, yet Spyglass and NCSA
only got about $1 million for code that was created by Marc Andreeson
and a bunch of people who formed Netscape.  Netscape was driven out of
business by it's own code.

Imagine if Microsoft suddenly found out that HP and Dell had formed an
allaince to create a version of Linux to drive Microsoft out of
business.  Furthermore, that alliance ended up using a bunch of
Microsoft code which had been lifted directly from the Microsoft DLLs.
And suppose that this project suddenly cut Microsoft's revenues by 75%.
 Suddenly instead of making $40 billion/year, they were only making $10

You don't think Microsoft wouldn't come after this new competitor with
every legal weapon at it's disposal?

And yet, Microsoft locks Linux and UNIX out of the market by using code
written by supporters of Linux and UNIX.  Microsoft kept Sun out of the
desktop market by using code written by Bill Joy.  Microsoft kept IBM
out of the desktop market using code funded and developed by IBM for
OS/2.  Microsoft kept Novell out of the desktop market using code
developed by AT&T.  Microsoft continues to keep Linux out of the market
using code written and published under GPL.

Even when the plaintiffs are able to prove their case, the outcome is
usually a modest settlement, sealed court records, and back to
"business as usual".

Microsoft IS ABOVE THE LAW.  The Law doesn't apply to Microsoft, and
even when it does, Bill Gates has so much control of the company that
he can protect himself from criminal prosecution by using Microsoft's
money to bail him out.

Bill Gates could commit felonies, possibly even murder, and get away
with it.  He would simply have his legal team create a carefully worded
settlement, pay a few million in restitution, and go back to "business
as usual".

> I suggest that you also read the following:
> http://tinyurl.com/886fh
> Stallman:
>     "Mr. Gates' secret is out now--he too was a "communist;"
>     he, too, recognized that software patents were harmful--until
>     Microsoft became one of these giants."

Ironically, Microsoft has become less enthusiastic about patents, now
that whiplash lawyers working on cintingency for kitchen table software
companies have started patenting 20 year old code.  The biggest irony
is that Microsoft has had to resort to usenet archives and open source
code to nullify the patents of these fraudulent claimants.

Again "My patent is worth $billions, your patent is worth about $200".
The $200 is the cost of filing the patent application.

Keep in mind that there are a number of companies who apply for
defensive patents.  They aren't trying to get rich by collecting patent
royalties for software they have recently written.  They are trying to
get as much prior art as possible into the public record as quickly as
possible.  Even if the patent is not granted, at least the prior art
listed in the application is now part of the patent office records and

> Microsoft also employed the TCP/IP stack implementation from BSD in the
> early ninetees. This is by no means the first time they take interest in
> Open Source software. I tried to find the link to this, which I was
> referred to from The Register a couple of days ago. I couldn't find it
> unfortunately.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to review the actual transcripts of
these cases because the records have been sealed, but go back to the
print or microfilm editions of trade magazines that covered the
testimony of numerous cases against Microsoft.  There is a very clear
pattern of Microsoft illegally obtaining software then claiming it to
be their own.  Microsoft executives have even admitted this under oath.

> Roy
> --
> Roy S. Schestowitz      | "Seeing bad movies only encourages them"
> http://Schestowitz.com  |    SuSE Linux    |     PGP-Key: 74572E8E
>   3:55pm  up 25 days  4:09,  3 users,  load average: 0.41, 0.68, 0.71

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