Re: what harm can MS do to free software anyway?
Craig Sanders <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> ok, so what if MS pumps millions of dollars into "fighting" free
> software....what will that achieve. how can that hurt us?
They can hurt us by arranging so that data is only available in their
formats in various contexts. [And, yes, they hurt more than us in this
They can hurt us by attacking us directly. [Individually, these sorts of
tactics don't have much behind them, but they can attack from a lot of
directions, taking advantage of the ignorant in a variety of walks of
They can hurt us by influencing governments. [Complex laws are a
dangerous tool in the hands of someone with a lot of money.]
Future versions of their OS will begin to introduce security --
which is a good thing from a privacy standpoint, but which can make
interoperability much harder. All that has to happen is a few more
delays in the adoption of broadly adopted secure network protocols and
suddenly Microsoft has the defacto standard. Then, a little pressure
and some federal security operation makes NT a requirement. A little
more pressure and this becomes a wide-spread standard for some key new
elements of the electronic infrastructures we're all participating in
building (e.g. electronic commerce), and Linux isn't as useful as it
ought to have been.
Fundamentally, commercial software outfits have a market base, while
free software outfits have a user base. While these need not conflict,
commercial software outfits can do things that reduce our user base.
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