[conspire] first post in a while

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Tue Jun 26 16:27:46 PDT 2007


On 6/26/07, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at gmail.com):
> I've seen self-identified Microsoft employees at Linux events for many
> years.  I'm actually a bit sympathetic to those who do that, because of
> the risk of being hassled by poorly socialised and thoughtless (i.e.,
> rude) Linux users showing the unspeakably poor judgement -- and poor
> hospitality -- inherent in haranguing him over his employer.

Rick, I am willing to follow your suggestion at CABAL meetings, of course;
and also, I don't like to be too aggressive in taking people to task for
working for Microsoft, because you are right, at a certain point it becomes
an angry "us versus them" behavior, which is unpleasant, I agree.  So I am
not advocating rudeness.  But at the same time, I believe that it is rude to
work for a company that is so focused on the work of the FOSS community to
share code.  I understand that people need to put food on the table and have
a roof over their heads, but  IMHO anyone who is good enough to work for
MSFT is good enough to work for other companies as well.  I find Microsoft
to be an anti-social company, and IMHO, it is anti-social to support
Microsoft's fundamental mission, which is to win at all cost.  What do you

In this particular case, the gentleman in question didn't just kill your
> dog or steal your horse:


He merely does professional work on weekdays
> for a corporation you don't especially like.

IMHO, Microsoft is not like other companies offering proprietary solutions.
They want to be the ONLY solution.  IMHO, that is anti-social.

  That doesn't give you
> licence to hassle him in any way:  On the contrary, from my perspective,
> it imposes a greater burden of courtesy on you than otherwise, because
> the more _challenging_ social encounters are precisely the ones where
> courtesy really matters.


On the other hand, it is not always rude to question the goals and aims of a
person's employer and to encourage them to consider other alternatives.  Of
course, it would be rude to physically approach someone and stand in their
physical space and yell at them to leave the company; or to continue to make
the point after the employee indicated that he or she didn't want to discuss
the topic any more; or to berate someone continually; or to browbeat them in
a tedious fashion.  So I wouldn't advocate that kind of behavior.

On the other hand, I wouldn't want to let a Microsoft employee get the
impression that I felt that it was just another job to work at Microsoft.

have made a point of being unfailingly polite to them
> because where that task is most difficult is also where it is most
> important, in order to pass the test of character.

This is a good point.  Politeness is an important character trait, and I
would hope that one of the things that FOSS collaboration fosters is a more
polite society.

In many ways, that is one of the points of our film.  FOSS allows us to be
better people.  It is in our selfish best interest to share FOSS code.  No
longer do we get ahead by hoarding FOSS code in most circumstances.
Hoarding FOSS code is actually against our individual self interest in most
circumstances.  My primary grip against Microsoft is that it is trying to
interfere with our efforts to build such a community, and that most
certainly is not polite behavior.

> Actually, I'm put in mind of a somewhat different animal:  "Bull."


In past decades, I've spent many years as a worker at proprietary
> software companies (albeit never at Microsoft Corporation).  Those have
> typically not been companies that are major publishers of GPLed
> software -- as Microsoft is.[1]  Those have typically not been companies
> that publish software for Linux -- as Microsoft has since 1997.[2]

This is interesting.  I will have to look at these pages some more and talk
with you about it at the next CABAL.  I had never considered Microsoft a
"major" publisher of FOSS code.  Maybe I was wrong.  But I don't think so.
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