Feeds

MS chief lashes out at German Free Software petition

'Undemokratisch? Wir?'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

A petition lobbying for the use of Free Software in the German Bundestag has rattled Microsoft Germany sufficiently for the company to retaliate. Microsoft Deutschland chairman and EMEA VP Kurt Sibold has responded to the ringleaders, complaining of discrimination, and of being accused of being a hindrance to democracy.

(Pause while you think about that). "Open Source software," he continues, "is not per se a guarantee of free competition." The campaign is pushing for "discrimination against our products and services as being undemocratic and a hindrance to democracy."

Sibold may well have justification in feeling somewhat bruised, as the petition itself is rattling good stuff, possibly penned by people who believe that Bill Gates is indeed das Böse: "We believe that, in a free market economy, it is the state's duty to prevent the development of monopolies and to grant the possibility of real competition. The public signal of introducing alternative software in such a prominent institution as parliament would be an easy and practicable step in the direction of a more open market. While free software is not in itself a warrant for free competition, in today's situation there seems to be no other alternative to insure practicable and safe information technology equipment for the legislature.

"Civic supervision and improvement of software by the general public is only possible using free software, due to its openly accessible source code. Short term disclosure of source codes - as offered by Microsoft - can only remain patchwork... The democratic aspect cannot be reduced to its mere increased security and flexibility, but is much more the expression of an extended understanding of democracy, encompassing economic and scientific progress. It therefore seems to us the duty of a democratic state to support the use of open source systems."

In support of its case it cites the introduction of Open Source in South Korea, it's role in the European Commission's e-Europe initiative, and the UK's planned "mandatory introduction of open source software in the public sector." We hadn't heard that last one either - nor, frankly, do we expect to.

One of the things likely to have worried Microsoft most is the fact that quite a few of the initial supporters of the petition are Bundestag members, meaning it looks much more like a genuine campaign with heft than just a clutch of crazed visionary lobbyists. It has also, almost immediately, achieved a high level of support, some of whom seem to be listed here. So it could indeed be a tricky one for MS Gmbh... ®

Related links:
Heise's take on the petition (in German)
Sibold's response (also German)

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.