[conspire] first post in a while

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Wed Jun 27 14:47:53 PDT 2007


On 6/27/07, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at gmail.com):
> > And yet, Microsoft just seems to me to be a very dangerous institution
> > which is highly motivated to disrupt the FOSS community.  Am I more or
> > less right there?
> Unfortunately, you seem to have changed the subject.
> _You were not talking to Microsoft Corporation._

Ah, good, now I see where we are disagreeing.  I believe that I was talking
to Microsoft, to a certain extent.  Corporations act through their employees
and officers.  I do believe that one of Winfred's supervisors knew that he
was there, and that Winfred has probably received training from Microsoft on
how to interact with the FOSS community.  I don't think that this was a case
of Winfred just hanging out on a weekend.   Sure, it was a social
environment, and of course he was there to have fun, too, but my main point
is that his time spent there was, in part, training for his work at
Microsoft.  And he will use what he learns to help Microsoft.  IMHO, it is
suboptimal for us to help Microsoft.

I understand that Rick feels that Microsoft is, in part, a publisher of FOSS
code, and so is not all bad.  I agree that Microsoft is not the spawn of
Satan.  I am not a Microsoft hater.  I am just cautious in dealing with
Microsoft or Microsoft employees, because I believe that Microsoft is such a
fierce competitor that it take every advantage to win.  In a sense, I treat
Microsoft employees a bit like opposing counsel.  I have decent
relationships with many opposing counsel in my law practice.  But it is also
true that I know that any information that I share with opposing counsel can
be used against my client, and so I am very cautious about sharing
information with them.

You were talking to a
> Linux user who was spending time, during his weekend leisure hours, as a
> guest at my house, a Linux user who happened to have mentioned that he
> does paid labour for Microsoft Corporation during the work week.

This point is where we disagree, IMHO.  I don't think that there is this
kind of clean break.  More explanations below.

What that particular Linux user's bosses during his work week think
> about his choice of weekend activities -- let alone your idle
> speculations about that subject -- strikes me as entirely irrelevant to
> the question of courteous behaviour towards him at my house.

Right, I have enlarged the discussion a bit.  I agree with you that it is
good to courteous to people, and I don't think that my particular behavior
toward Winfred was discourteous.  Nor do I think that he thinks that my
behavior toward him was discourteous.  As I say, long after he and I had
those discussions about Microsoft he and I and Christian Huebner had a laugh
together about the Mayor of Munich's dramatic statement about the dam

1.  Serve:
> I suppose Winfred could have been assigned to "disrupt the open source
> community"[1] by saying hello, introducing himself, and hanging out for
> a few hours.
> Or he could just be Winfred who dropped by and was having a good time,
> and who happens to also be employed by Microsoft Corporation.

IMHO it was both.  CABAL meetings are a bit like golf in other circles.
There are a lot of really talented, knowledgeable people who come to the
CABAL barbecues.  People golf in other business circles not just for the fun
of golf, but to be able to make business contacts and learn industry tips.
IMHO, Winfred was golfing, so to speak, and was doing so with the knowledge
and encouragement of his superiors at Microsoft.
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