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FSF Anti-Windows 7 Campaign

The FSF (Free Software Foundation) is going global with their anti Windows 7 campaign, but the so-called 7 sins are totally ridiculous and the facts 100% wrong.
And why waste millions of dollar for an anti-Windows 7 campaign that could help to push the freeware market and actually compete with Windows 7?

FSF Anti Windows 7 Campaign

Their campaign has good intentions I won’t deny that, but they should get their facts rights before they spend huge sums of money on anti-Windows 7 campaigns rather than supporting the freeware community with that money.

Poisoning Education

1. Poisoning education: Today, most children whose education involves computers are being taught to use one company’s product: Microsoft’s. Microsoft spends large sums on lobbyists and marketing to corrupt educational departments. An education using the power of computers should be a means to freedom and empowerment, not an avenue for one corporation to instill its monopoly.

I agree with this point. Not only children are taught to use Microsoft products, but also teachers. But can you really blame Microsoft for that? Every company would spend money on lobbyists to support their goals, but smart teachers can make choices on their own, right? Did you hear the story about that ignorant teacher who did not allow one of their students to work with a free Linux system? Before you blame Microsoft spending millions on lobbyists, try to get rid of ignorant teachers.

Invading Privacy

2. Invading privacy: Microsoft uses software with backward names like Windows Genuine Advantage to inspect the contents of users’ hard drives. The licensing agreement users are required to accept before using Windows warns that Microsoft claims the right to do this without warning.

Totally wrong. The statement implies that Microsoft would spy on their users, but Microsoft is using the “Windows Genuine Advantage” tool only to fight software-piracy of their OWN software. They are not inspecting the contents of your personal hard drive and are only trying to protect their intellectual property. What is wrong about that?

Monopoly behaviour

3. Monopoly behavior: Nearly every computer purchased has Windows pre-installed — but not by choice. Microsoft dictates requirements to hardware vendors, who will not offer PCs without Windows installed on them, despite many people asking for them. Even computers available with other operating systems like GNU/Linux pre-installed often had Windows on them first.

Wrong again. Microsoft learned from the past. In 2004 they had to pay $1.35 billion due to failure to comply with a 2004 ruling on monopolistic business practices. Since then they are much more cooperative and even introduced the Windows 7 browser ballot that allows users to pick another browser than the pre-installed Internet Explorer.

Also, there are many companies who can sell you a PC/Laptop without Windows. Some manufacturers like DELL who cooperate with Microsoft only sell their notebooks with a pre-installed copy of Windows, but if you don’t like that there are plenty of other great laptop manufacturers. I have to agree that it is difficult in some parts of the world (e.g. EU) to purchase a laptop without a pre-installed Windows as many of the manufacturers are in cooperation with MS (Acer, Asus, Compaq, HP, Dell).

In some parts of the world you can easily get a DELL laptop without Windows and save a lot of money. Especially for students who can get a copy of Windows 7 via the MSDN AA this is a huge advantage.

DELL Russia:
Laptop Without Windows

By now, you can also get a DELL laptop with Linux (Ubuntu) in the UK and you save £24 compared to a laptop with pre-installed.
There is clearly no monopoly, if you want something else, you can get it. Many people grew up using a Windows PC so that they got used to it and don’t want something else, so you really can’t blame any vendors for selling what the people want.


4. Lock-in: Microsoft regularly attempts to force updates on its users, by removing support for older versions of Windows and Office, and by inflating hardware requirements. For many people, this means having to throw away working computers just because they don’t meet the unnecessary requirements for the new Windows versions.

Microsoft Office for XP
Totally wrong. Microsoft always provides updates for older operating systems and even allows their new software products to run on older Windows operating system. The new Microsoft Office 2010 for example will be working on Windows XP SP3.
Also, many of the updates that Microsoft provides for free are classified critical updates and are important for the security of your PC.

If anyone is inflating hardware requirements then it’s the game developers who often do not provide much support for out-dated hardware and operating system and require you to have the newest, shiny Geforce graphic card.

Abusing standards

5. Abusing standards: Microsoft has attempted to block free standardization of document formats, because standards like OpenDocument Format would threaten the control they have now over users via proprietary Word formats. They have engaged in underhanded behavior, including bribing officials, in an attempt to stop such efforts.

Utterly nonsense. Microsoft is FUNDING projects that allow opening and saving OpenDocument format / ODF files in Microsoft products.

Open office Converter for Word

If you ever need an add-on for Microsoft Word or Excel to save your files in OpenDocument format, you can use the ODF Converter (funded by Microsoft):ODF Converter #

Microsoft: Funding, Architectural & Technical Guidance and Project co-coordination

Enforcing Digital Restrictions Management

6. Enforcing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM): With Windows Media Player, Microsoft works in collusion with the big media companies to build restrictions on copying and playing media into their operating system. For example, at the request of NBC, Microsoft was able to prevent Windows users from recording television shows that they have the legal right to record.

One of the few good points, but in order to protect the intellectual property, companies like the NBC put a lot of pressure on Microsoft to enforce their rights.

Yes, Microsoft removed the “Record what you hear” option that was built-in and although we have a right to record what we currently hear on our computer and also stops us from recording tv-shows, but if a multi-million dollar industry is threatening to sue you, what would you do? Microsoft can’t be held responsible for this.

Threatening user security

7. Threatening user security: Windows has a long history of security vulnerabilities, enabling the spread of viruses and allowing remote users to take over people’s computers for use in spam-sending botnets. Because the software is secret, all users are dependent on Microsoft to fix these problems — but Microsoft has its own security interests at heart, not those of its users.

Microsoft has always been very fast when it comes to fixing security vulnerabilities. You could also argue that open-source systems are less secure. Because open-source system are “open” anyone can read them and find security vulnerabilities and exploit them!
So, Microsoft is not threatening user security more than open-source software.

Microsoft’s Upcoming Open-Source OS’s Nobody Knows

Besides all the points above, Microsoft shows great interest in open-source and is currently developing many freeware open-source systems for the freeware market.

You can already download a SDK for Microsoft’s possibly upcoming open-source system Windows Singularity that is using managed code only: Singularity SDK

Currently Windows Singularity is only a research project, but it has the potential to become something big

Another open-source system developed by Microsoft in cooperation by ETH Zurich (Switzerland) and Microsoft Research (Cambridge/UK) is “Barrelfish”, a multi-core operating system.

Microsoft Barrelfish: Open Source


Many of the points are simply wrong and it’s ridiculous that the FSF is spending so much money to promote a campaign with that many flaws. My point is, start spending more money on supporting freeware open-source cloud computing systems and develop a decent operating system with a top-notch usability and you will have much more success!

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Published: Sunday, January 24th, 2010 Last Modified: January 24, 2010

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