Lets not be civil about this, what Steve Ballmer is saying through his
Mundie mouthpiece is that GPL threatens the potential markets that Microsoft
has yet to dominate.
They very much fear entering a new market to find that the GPL is stamped
all over the existing infrastructure. Open and publicly extendable standards
don't give a company with Microsoft's mentality allot of room to manoeuvre.
Traditionally they like to control and profit from essential computing
services, the "oxygen" and "carbon" from which computing life springs. When
they enter a market they usually attempt to seize these services and clamp
down on them.
Now as the MS money machine marches into the Open Standards Internet, they
find that the cloud is just that, a giant cloud of formless gasses, much of
it open and lot's of it GPL'd. This is the equivalent of poisoning the
rivers and killing all the tree's in Microsoft's Biosphere, they can't exist
in the way they'd like to.
There's no enemy or centralised power structure to attack such as Novell or
Banyan in the Networking market, Borland in Development tools or Sun in the
Enterprise market. So they appear to have reached for the life preserver of
the desperate, when in doubt attack the idea. Attacking ideas is a very
dangerous gamble as if you are not careful you end up propagating the idea
into places where before it would not have spread. In a closed market
environment or a controlled populous [Think Oceania in Orwell's 1984 or
China for that matter] you can get away with this because you'll be in
control of all the media and communication outlets, your message can always
be consistent and eventually people come around to your way of thinking.
Microsoft on the other hand is trying the same thing but is trying to sell a
dubious argument against GPL to an already sceptical audience. No one is
going to take them just at their word, as there is the dark stain of
"abusive monopolist" on their character.
Having the mentality of an unashamed robber baron myself, I would never have
attacked the GPL directly and in a not so subtle way. I would have reformed
some of the internal software development practices and worked to highlight
the value added services that a closed and centralised development model
provides. [Be they real or not].
Then after all that, I would have ever so quietly sowed FUD with a
consistent message in the background with the hope that it would seep from
the top down.
Poor, poor Microsoft. Under attack from there own government, threatend to
be squashed by the other elephants with which they are engaged in global
territorial wars with. [AOL/TimeWarner, Sony etc]
The mice of smaller company's, they could potentially choke on.
And finally the legions of ants that could eventually devour them. [GPL &
the unknown coder in his bedroom working on the next best thing or whom
Scary, scary times for them.
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