Verily I say unto thee, that nessuno spake thusly:
Just to be clear, this is purely the work of one Jonathan Zuck, a paid
lobbyist for Microsoft, and is only a draft intended to be presented to
the EU, for the purpose of subverting their OSS strategy.
Here's a sample, with notes in [brackets] indicating sections that Zuck
proposes to add or remove:
3.1.1. Lack of 'market confidence'
A lack of 'market confidence' remains, however, due to 'concerns' such
as availability of support, skill levels, understanding of licence
terms, and liability. OSS tends to push the integration function into
the hands of users as opposed to vendors, as is the case for commercial
products. Users are then exposed to issues, problems and extra support
and integration costs which can be off-putting.
[strike]Could this lack of market confidence be just a matter of
perception? One could argue that on the other hand, service providers
capitalise on their own skills to offer packaged solutions as well as
granular services at every level of the software stack. Software
communities develop the software and provide support at a community
level on a[/strike] [strike]usually[/strike] [add]often[/add]
[strike]pro-bono basis. Open Source Software usually comes free of
charge if one considers the code itself; where the generation of revenue
takes place is at the scaling or deployment points of the market.
Proprietary vendors charge their users twice, once at the deployment
phase (through support contracts), and once at the procurement phase
(through licensing fees).[/strike]
[add] [COMMENT: PAPER SHOULD FOCUS ON OSS AND NOT DWELL INTO UNSUPPORTED
AND UNNECESSARY STATEMENTS AGAINST PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE.] [/add]
[strike]Could therefore the lack of market confidence be more a matter
of perception than an ontological problem related to Open Source?
No, we agree it is real[/strike] [add], while recognising that
integration of OSS in commercial products and services have mitigated
the problem and allowed OSS market growth.[/add]
[strike]Although the state of the art can evolve and problems
experienced by users can be overcome or transferred to OSS servicing
companies it is not the case yet, there are real barriers (see § 3.3
below) which requires action (see § 3.5 below).[/strike]
[add]Patrick’s comment : I suggest to suppress the above two paragraphs
which, from the comments I got seem to be more controversial than useful
Basically he's removing any comments supporting the idea that purely OSS
solutions are viable, that proprietary software solutions are expensive
and restrictive, and that any perceptions to the contrary are mainly the
result of the sort of propaganda people like /him/ are responsible for.
Having read the whole document, it's seems he's injecting the idea that
the only viable solution is proprietary software, so to accommodate
those determined to implement OSS solutions will require "mixed sources"
(and therefore still retain overall control by vendors like Microsoft).
He also redacts any references to the fact that there are existing OSS
solutions heavily used throughout business, particularly if those
existing solutions are successful (e.g. Red Hat). He then goes on to
blur the distinctions between "commercial" and "proprietary", to the
point of even substituting the latter word with the former, when in fact
the two are radically different (and indeed the commercial benefits of
Free Software is whole point of the EU's strategy).
The original draft suggests there's a "need to encourage greater use of
OSS software in high education and support OSS curricula definition",
which he's struck out. Clearly he doesn't like the idea that the next
generation of businessmen and IT professionals will be ready, willing
and able to develop, deploy and support Free Software.
He's also not too happy with the original document's exposure of
problems related to interoperability caused by proprietary software, and
its invariably closed standards, nor the fact that the vendor lock-in
this produces is actually "in violation of legislation which mandates
vendor neutrality based on transparency and non-discrimination".
He then goes on to completely redact an entire section pertaining to
RAND licensing conditions, which intrinsically discriminate against OSS,
because RAND only pertains to equality of terms to /pay/ royalties, for
what is in every other respect potentially highly restrictive licensing
conditions. He justifies this by pointing out that RAND licensed
technologies are in fact used throughout OSS businesses, but then
disingenuously ignores the problem that the mere fact rights holders can
tie royalties to supposedly "open" standards in the first place makes
universal access impossible to guarantee in every instance. He also
fails to point out that RAND conditions pertain to highly /specific/
implementations, thus making such "standards" difficult to implement and
integrate legally, and impossible to further develop without incurring
penalties (see: Oracle vs Google).
I found this [added] comment particularly interesting:
On the other hand, Europe has to be wary not to fund OSS loosely under
schemes that would continue to result or even increase the problem of
third countries being the ultimate beneficiaries.
Apparently Zuck still doesn't understand the community nature of Open
Source, nor the ideals of Free Software. Why should benefiting others be
a "problem". Well, if you think like a monopoliser (like his corporate
sponsor does) then naturally that would be a "problem".
He also makes several references to the following: "The following lines
were suppressed because we agree to group the OSS mandate debate in one
paragraph only," demonstrating that he's clearly trying to marginalise
the entire OSS debate, and thus eventually squeeze it out completely.
And lastly, he redacts the entire closing summary, contending that it
should not be within the remit of the EU to pursue these goals:
DG Infso and European Commission’s
Lastly, we believe that DG Information Society and Media should closely
focus on open source software both as a software development path and a
business model. It is important that open source/free software
developers and distributors enjoy adequate protection in order to
prevent the abusive exercise of patent rights against them. DG
Information Society and Media should also consider any compatibility
issues that exist between the open source/free software licensing model
and the licensing of patents essential for the technical implementation
of standardised technologies.
(ECIS) strongly welcomes the efforts of DG Information Society and Media
to develop a European software strategy with respect to intellectual
property and standards setting issues arising in the software industry.
This work should not be regarded as duplicating efforts which other
relevant Directorates-General of the Commission are undergoing. The
software industry has entirely different requirements in terms of how
the patent system or the standards setting develop to other industry
sectors. Hence, it is important that DG Information Society and Media
focuses more on the special needs of the software industry.
In addition, it is important that the Commission actively work on
developing a balanced IT policy across Europe encompassing all relevant
policy areas affecting the software sector in close cooperation with
other relevant Directorates General in the following areas: the Future
Internet, IPR, Standards and Interoperability, Public Procurement,
Skills and Lifelong Learning and Open Source Software.
But this is the comment that really exposes Zuck's true motives and
Others believe the current standardisation environment is already
technology neutral, and that standardisation should continue to be
voluntary and market-led.
By "others" he does, of course, mean himself and his client, Microsoft,
a company that ensures through anticompetitive practices that the nature
of support for anything other than proprietary software and closed
standards is somewhat less than "voluntary". The "environment" is not
"market-led" at all, but is in fact controlled by a handful of
monopolisers in collusion with one another, which is precisely why the
EU is pursuing policies to rectify that, and why Microsoft and their
lobbyists (like Zuck) are opposed to such moves.
| You can't make an omelet without building some bridges
| ... but don't count your bridges until they've hatched
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