Microsoft has been targeted by the Free Software Foundation, which is insisting in a new "Windows 7 Sins" campaign that Redmond's new operating system represents a threat to the privacy and security of individuals and companies. The Free Software Foundation has confronted Microsoft at several points in the past over its products, including Windows Vista.
finds itself in the crosshairs of the Free Software Foundation, which announced
on Aug. 26 that it will launch a "Windows 7 Sins" campaign designed
to show how "proprietary software in general and Microsoft Windows in
particular hurt all computer users."
In a press release tied to the campaign, which already has a Website
, the FSF
suggested that Windows and proprietary software committed seven cardinal sins: invading
privacy, poisoning education, locking users in, abusing standards, leveraging
monopolistic behavior, enforcing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and
threatening user security.
The campaign has apparently mailed letters to the heads of Fortune 500
companies, warning that the use of Windows 7 could compromise privacy and
security, and asking them to adopt free software "such as the GNU/Linux
operating system and the office productivity suite OpenOffice.org."
"Free software is more secure because you and the wider community are
independently able to read the source code of and customize any program you use
in your infrastructure," the letter reads
. "It saves
you from relying on a secretive third party, and the public availability of
free software code means that many qualified eyeballs, the security experts and
researchers around the world, are continually studying and reporting on its
In a separate statement, FSF Executive Director Peter Brown suggested that the
"growing dependence on computers and software requires our society to re-evaluate
its obsession with proprietary software that spies on citizens' activities and
limits their freedom to be in control of their computing."
The FSF charged head-on against Microsoft at several points in the past.
Back in 2006, the
organization launched a Website, BadVista.org
, with the intention of
displaying what it insisted were multiple user-restrictive issues with Windows
Vista. The foundation has also historically
pursued smaller companies such as FSMLabs over what it perceives as General
Public License violations.
Microsoft plans on rolling out Windows 7 on Oct. 22. With the Redmond,
Wash., company facing declining revenues
thanks to moribund PC sales and a widespread economic recession, it needs the
newest version of its operating system to be a substantial hit. Despite
predictions by ecosystem partners such as Intel that Windows 7 will be rapidly
adopted by consumers and the enterprise
, some studies suggest that
businesses may be slower to upgrade as they wrestle with lower IT budgets and
concerns over issues such as compatibility.