Halloween XI: Get The FUD

Open-source leader Eric Raymond considers the implications of Microsoft's laughably misnamed Get The Facts roadshow.

Ive just seen a dispatch from the front lines of the FUD wars, Huw Lyness report from one of Microsofts Get The Facts roadshow in Great Britain. Its a fascinating read, especially when considered in context with Halloween VII and more recent leaks out of Microsoft. The outlines of the next stage in Microsofts anti-open-source propaganda campaign are becoming clear. Its a good time to take stock of where we are, what our favorite evil empire is doing, and how best to respond.

Lets start by reminding ourselves of the stakes. For Microsoft (or at least its present business model) to survive, open source must die. Its a lot like the Cold War was; peaceful coexistence could be a stable solution for us, but it can never be for them, because they cant tolerate the corrosive effect on their customer relationships of comparisons with a more open system. (Anyone who thinks Im being perfervid or overly melodramatic about this should review the direct long-term revenue and platform threat language from Halloween I. Other people may fool themselves about what this means, but Microsoft never has.)

Because coexistence is not a stable solution for them, it cannot be for us either. We have to assume that Microsofts long-term aim is to crush our culture and drive us to extinction by whatever combination of technical, economic, legal, and political means they can muster. So, in evaluating the Get the Facts road show, we need to start by asking how it fits into Microsofts larger strategic plans.

For the complete story, click to the Open Source Initiative.