Microsoft Gets Opensource Removed From Vienna Conclusions

The Software Monopoly – At it Again

In what seems to be part of a new tactical run to try kill Opensource software, Microsoft apparently was able to score one point on this one.

A document called the Vienna Conclusions was presented during the WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) conference last week.

The WSIS self-titles as being about encouraging and discovering ‘ICT &amp Creativity.’ There is a second phase to those things discussed in the Vienna Conclusions that work toward the World Summit Award (WSA).

The official Vienna Conclusions have been published, and are available to download in PDF format here. However, one rather large beast of a surprise came out as the folks at the conference were reading the conclusions.

It seems that Microsoft requested that all references to free software, and Linux in particular, be removed from the Vienna Conclusions document. Worse even than that – they were.

In the WSA blog, Thomas Lutz, manager of public affairs for Microsoft Austria, had some revision requests.

On the paragraph p5/2 (Digital Rights/Creative Commons) the following was said, but requested the text be removed entirely:

Increasingly, revenue is generated not by selling content and digital works, as they can be freely distributed at almost no cost, but by offering services on top of them. The success of the Free Software Model is one example.

Lutz explained the Microsoft reasoning for wanting it removed: contains only an one-sided perspective on the ICT industry. The rationale for this is, that the aim of free software is not to enable a healthy business on software but rather to make it even impossible to make any income on software as a commercial product. We don´t see this neither as a viable not as a desirable path for the future economy of Europe.

Fascinating. Well, I suppose on one hand it is interesting that Microsoft is being more vocal about their fear of Opensource, for what it really is in their minds – something that ‘makes it impossible to make any income.’ Ah well, while there were other requests in that post that was made, the other one that really stands out as blatant paranoia is the following one in which Microsoft requests that the word ‘Linux’ be removed from the document per the following quote.

P6/3. eLearning and eScience … Deletion of “…like the linux project” as this is only one particular – anti-commercial – specificity of the open source landscape. You could use instead of “Linux” the more broader term of “open source project”.

Interesting, don’t you think? Well, probably not as interesting as the blog reaction of Georg Greve. Mr. Greve is the President of the Free Software Foundation – Europe. He had a very miffed reaction, understandably, to the sudden change in the document, as you can understand why from one of his statements on the topic here:

Given this was a conference with hundreds of high-level participants and discussing a rather hot topic, do you wonder why are there only five entries in this blog? Do you wonder why noone tore the Microsoft propaganda apart? There is an easy answer to this: Noone on the panel ever knew this blog existed. I just learned this now.

In a reaction to this, we now see this: The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) today filed an application for leave to intervene in the antitrust suit against Microsoft.. Personally, I think it’s nice to see the FSFE standing up to the old bully on the block who still thinks he owns the street – because apparently not everyone at the convention did.