Here is an example of the cookie-cutter Microbashing from the open source software (OSS) fringe that I mentioned in a post on March 23. I thought it was a new thing but I have since found out that Microbashing has been going on for years. I am way behind the times, as I am with the move from rock to rap music. (Rock to rap: My parents complained that they could not hear the lyrics in â€œour music;â€? now my children as parents are complaining that they can hear the lyrics in their â€œkidsâ€™ music.â€?)
I received the following comment in response to my commentary on the ISO OOXML vote and the reality of the so-called international Open Standards (always upper case) movement. But this comment is typical of blogoblathering on all kinds of subjects related to Microsoft, be it about EU fines, or Vista, or SCO, or you name it.
"What a load of self-serving nonsense. Do you work for Microsoft by any chance?
"Your paper example is fallacious. The standard used to make the paper I store my information on is irrelevant, yes. But the format in which electronic information is made available is very relevant - especially when that format is owned and controlled by a proprietary vendor who can choose to make changes to it at any time simply to force users to spend money on an upgrade. Thanks but no thanks.
"And then there is the technical case for OOXML, or rather, the lack thereof: http://www.odfalliance.org/resources/The%20Technical%20Case%20Against%20OOXML.pdf
"Catch a wake up; you might learn something.
At least Brianâ€™s post is one I can publish because it is not full of expletives. The ones with expletivesâ€”or references to Nazismâ€”I call Microhate.
Let's dissect the Microbashing blogpost formula. All Microbashing blog posts are like the form letters that perhaps one of your friends has suggested you send your congressperson (or PM or Delegate or whatever politicians are called outside the U.S.)
1. All Microbashing starts by accusing people of "working for Microsoft." If Brian had read my research, he would realize that I am one of Microsoftâ€™s major critics. I work for myself. The particular post he is commenting criticizes the so-called International Open Standards (always in Upper Case) movement and has nothing to do with Microsoft. But Microbashing never lets logic get in its way. It also does not bother Microbashers that Sutor works for IBM, Schwartz works for Sun, DiBona works for Google, Tiemann works for Red Hat, and so forth. There arenâ€™t many of us virgins out here on the boulevard.
2. The second act of every Microbash play begins with the debating trick of stating something as if it is patently obvious and not in need of proof, a rule of nature. Typically it is the breathless canard that someone is forcing them or someone else to buy Microsoft products. Where is that happening? I do major statistically significant information technology (IT) market research. I would love to dive into this phenomena. Except that I cannot find any instances of it. Please send me an email Brian (or anyone) at email@example.com telling me when and how Bill Gates held a gun to your head and made you buy a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) product. I will investigate it in the impartial manner I use in all my research and publish the results. (Consider this the Bill Gates Held a Gun to My Head challenge.)
3. Next in every Microbash rant comes the reference to IBM (NYSE: IBM) or Sun (NASDAQ:JAVA) or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) propaganda. In this case it is a reference to a document on the web site of a consortia funded by--guess who?--IBM, Sun, Red Hat (NYSE:RHAT), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), all the guys that gain more market share if they can restrict government purchasing of document software. What they cannot achieve in the marketplace, they attempt to achieve through government edict. IBM and Sun tried to railroad such a policy through the bureaucracy here in Massachusetts a few years ago but received such an immediate howl of protest from the legislature, state records repository personnel and the disabled that their in-house IT guy was run out of town on a rail (he was run out for alleged T&E improprieties actually but I always wanted to use that old clichÃ©, â€œrun out of town on a railâ€?). In fairness, I am pretty sure that writers like Brian do not know they are being manipulated by Sun and IBM.
4. Finally (or sometimes for openers) is the ad-hominem attack. I was not sure what "Catch a wake up" means but I assumed it was along the lines of "your mother wears army boots." So I asked Brian and he tells me it simply means â€œwake up and smell the coffee.â€? Kudos to Brian for his civility; typically Microbashers accuse me of being on drugs or some such thing (which people of my generation donâ€™t actually think of as an insult to be honest; we think of it as a fond memory of youth).
What causes these people to get so riled up about Microsoft? Since open source software terms and conditions have been so prevalent for more than 10 years, there is no reason that they would ever have to see a piece of Microsoft software.
(By the way, I think the paper analogy is perfect because paper size is also a document format standard on which ISO wastes thousands of man years. But I won't argue with Brian about that. It is the only legitimate non-personal-attack, non-Microsoft-attack, non-IBM-propaganda sentence in his comment. I have â€œpublishedâ€? his comment on the ebizQ site where he made it but if he would really like to have a discussion about the International Open Standards movementâ€”which is what I am talking aboutâ€”try it again without the Microbashing. Use PDF as an example if you cannot write about the standards subject in the abstract.)