Rampaging gnu crashes Microsoft Store, hands out literature
Free Software Foundation protest against 'more restrictive' Windows 8
Activists representing the Free Software Foundation disrupted an event at the Microsoft retail store in Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday, urging passers-by to shun the software giant's Windows 8 operating system in favor of free software alternatives.
The demonstrators, wearing Santa Claus and elf hats in the spirit of the holiday season, arrived at Boston's Prudential Center shops during a planned "TechTots" children's event at the Microsoft Store, accompanied by a man dressed as a gnu, the FSF's horned mascot.
The freedom-loving wildebeest proceeded to exhibit behaviors not normally observed in the Serengeti, including handing out stickers and discs containing free software (don't call it open source), along with copies of the FSF's holiday giving guide, which suggests alternatives to gifts that the group says come with too many restrictions.
The demonstration was staged as part of the FSF's ongoing campaign against Windows 8, which the group claims is even more restrictive than previous versions of the OS, yet has been backed by a marketing campaign "rumored to have cost more than a billion dollars."
"Tablets and laptops are popular gifts for the holidays, but people often overlook the restrictions that manufacturers slip under the wrapping paper," explained FSF executive director John Sullivan in a statement.
The FSF's protest was cut short, however, by the arrival of security, who asked the demonstrators to leave the premises. The gnu, though a powerful mammal, is naturally cooperative and migratory, and it departed without incident.
In its natural habitat, the wildebeest is a relatively docile creature that enjoys grazing and
compiling software from source, yet is easily startled by DRM and proprietary licenses.
According to FSF campaigns manager Zak Rogoff, the fact that the demonstrators were escorted off only underscores the FSF's message:
We were prepared for the Microsoft store to ask us to leave. Our Windows 8 campaign is reminding Microsoft that many software users do care about their rights to run a free "as in freedom" operating system, and will not tolerate digital handcuffs. Microsoft's business model is predicated on these handcuffs, so they don't like what we're doing. If more people knew that free software was an option and had a chance to try it, this store would have a different logo over the door.
Thursday's protest was actually the second demonstration the FSF has staged against Microsoft, the first having taken place during the Windows 8 launch event in October. The group said to expect further such actions "in coming months." ®
You must remember when talking about America....
That strict gnu control is unconstitutional!!
Missing an important point...
...most people (i.e., the average shoppers) don't realize there is any alternative to a desktop operating system besides Windows. Many will know about that "other weird system" (i.e., OSX - which I use...) but no average consumer is going to have a clue what Linux is or what FSF is all about. All they will see is some weird dorky dudes dressed in a "bull costume" making a scene with some hippie crap about freedom.
Now that I've gotten your downvotes with that first paragraph -- I use Linux on dozens of my servers, and OSX on my desktops/laptop. I hate Windows, though I do occasionally do some .NET dev for my Windows-centric consulting clients. Linux is the way forward for servers, hands down. It's not quite there for desktop but is getting there in leaps and bounds. It's certainly there for mobile. What we need now is good education for the masses, not crap stunts pulled in front of Microsoft stores. Look how much traction Android has gained - it's probably done more for the Linux name than any of these FSF stunts.
Get the shopping mall's permission to open a booth for the season (nearby the MS store if possible), just like the beef sausage stands you see popping up. The booth can distribute professional material and CDs without making a scene, and will be far more respected. Wear a suit, not a GNU costume. Such a booth could even feature Linux on laptops to try out, a few various Android devices, etc. Then security wouldn't promptly escort you out, and people would listen to you.
My $0.02. Downvote away. :)
This is made of pure win!