February 12, 2003

Microsoft to Open Source: You guys are hypocrites!

- by Tony Stanco -
Leave it to the kooks in the community to make Microsoft look

I heard from Microsoft yesterday on the chatter over their appearing at
our Open
Source in Government conference
and they quickly proposed that they be
uninvited. Not so fast.

The unspoken subtext of their offer was: "Oh, we are so morally superior
to you
Open Source guys. You guys are so intolerant. You talk a good game about
speech, high principles and morality, but you are no better than we are.

"In fact, you
are worse. We invited Eben Moglen from the Free Software Foundation to
annual BSA convention in Washington a few months ago to talk about the
GPL, and
everyone welcomed him with open arms when he spoke.

"No protests. No

"We respected his right to free speech. But you guys you guys... you're
How can the government possibly trust its systems to flakes like you?"

What the loons on the extreme of the extreme dont understand is that
would love to have an excuse to not attend. Microsoft is not coming
because it
wants to. It is coming because it is compelled to.

It's Microsoft's government
customers who
want them there to explain themselves in public when they say that
Shared Source
is better than Open Source, instead of just talking that way in private.
And it is the
government that wants them to do it in front of Open Source supporters,
so that they
can hear both sides at the same time.

Instead of trying to throw Microsoft out, we should be asking that they
do more and
present their very best. And then have our best, say Eben Moglen or
Bruce Perens, debate
whomever they put forward as their champion. And then trust that
reasonable minds
can decide for themselves which side has the better arguments.

This fear and intolerance of opposing viewpoints is an anathema to
people and hurts Open Source more than anything anyone can possible say


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