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Thread: Open Source Software

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Gerry Patterson, The World's Most Humble Blogger

We'll Keep The Red Flag Flying Here!


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Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 03:48:47 +1100

The people's flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts blood dyed its every fold.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

-- (Trad) Sing it to the tune of "Oh Christmas Tree".

Ahh Comrades, I'll just take my hands away from the piano keyboard now and turn instead to the computer keyboard ...

Yes, the computer keyboard ... Still nothing like a rousing verse and chorus of "The Red Flag" to set the mood. And let me assure you that we will keep the red flag flying here at PGTS ...

Oh you didn't know? You didn't realise that we are all communists ... Here in the Surrey Hills chapter of the Melbourne Communist Party?

But we are! I can assure you we are as RED as a glass of Aussie Shiraz! In fact, you should be aware that anyone who advocates the use of Open Standards is a communist! We are all in it together! Have been for years. We are a mindless swarm of fire-breathing, baby-eating communists! And if any of you should be so foolish as to use any open source software, that will be our foot in your door. After which, of course, we will kick down your door. And hordes of us will pour in ... over-whelm you and eat your babies!

I actually read Bill Gates comments on the topic of Intellectual Property over a month ago. It was a week before I started this blog. At the time I thought that these ludicrous remarks did not even deserve a comment. They were probably on a par with the comments that Steve Ballmer made four years ago about Linux being a cancer! ... And having just promised not to make a comment, I just thought I'd make the little observation that it is more than a little ironic for anyone from Microsoft to talk about software being like cancer! ... Whenever the topic of cancerous software comes up, there is one large carcinoma on the software landscape that springs into my mind. And that software blight is sourced from Redmond!

Ok, I said I intended not to comment on Bill Gates assertion that we are all communists. That was because I thought that there would be lots of response to that little bombshell, and there was. One of the better ones was from Richard Stallman, easily identified as a hippy and a communist, and I am pleased to hear that he is going to "Keep the Red Flag Flying" also.

But I just can't refrain any longer from a few more little comments ... Because while we are on the topic of communism, we see a disturbing Stalinist trend in Microsoft's software. It seems that the legislators in the US are considering a bill that will allow Microsoft to install spyware on your desktop! And thanks to the misleadingly titled FTA, no doubt Australian legislators will be moving quickly to bring our law into line with this extraordinary US law. It is worth quoting a little sentence from the Internet News article:

The bill permits computer software providers to interact with a user's computer without notice and consent to determine whether the user is authorized to use the software.

Talk about Big Brother watching! ... or should that be little Uncle Bill watching?

But should you be worried dear reader? Would Microsoft abuse that power? Surely it's OK to put a few benign little pieces of spyware on your desk top to search for unauthorised software? (like OpenOffice?) I mean after all, don't we have to make sure that the wheels of industry stay well greased with the crushed corpses of consumers and their children, recently pulled from the coal mines of capitalism? (Don't answer that last one, comrades - it was an attempt at irony).

And anyway, it seems as if all this finely-crafted software might be FREE! (as in beer not speech). I mean just look at the FREE anti-spyware Tool that Microsoft is going to supply with their FREE MSIE version 7.0 (to be shipped soon). Gosh! it would be just peachy when they supply us with a FREE browser! I mean ... I can hardly wait for a FREE browser ...

And when all of this fabulous software is installed on our desktops, we can just lie back, relax, think of the American Dream, and ... TRUST Microsoft! That is what Trustworthy Computing is really about ... OK? ... Ok??

After all, we can TRUST Microsoft, can't we? ... Umm, Hands up all of you who trust Microsoft?

Don't all rush me at once ...

As I said I wasn't going to mention this, but recent developments, like the "spin" in The Age, and the aggressive advertising and most especially the rise of the incredible little fox has caused a re-evaluation of the situation.

It seems that we are looking at a genuine, class-A boil-over!.

Microsoft is spending big bucks on a campaign of purely negative advertising. These advertisements say very little about the benefits of Microsoft ... Well, actually, the list of benefits of using Microsoftware would have to be one of the shortest lists in the world ... Instead the advertising campaign has focused exclusively on how bad Linux is!!

As to how effective a hundred percent negative campaign will be ... remains to be seen.

And now, with the announcement of the premature release of MSIE 7.0, I think we can say that we have a boil-over.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a boil-over!

And this article by business journalist Michael Malone also poses the same question ... The Microsoft tide may have finally peaked.

And if I could just indulge in a little self-promotion, I did say in a little article about three years ago, that Microsoft may have reached the zenith of their influence. (Drawing the obvious parallel with IBM).

Is it my imagination? Or do I detect the slightest trace of desperation ... perhaps even fear in the Microsoft rhetoric? Perhaps they can hear the faceless hordes of Open Source users, taking to streets and marching and singing ... singing ... ... Omigod! They're singing the Communist Internationale! Quick hide the babies!


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