The next Vienna Conclusion: So it WAS Microsoft that asked to delete Free Software

The ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) features a report in its section about the Free Software censorship described in my blog entry "The Vienna Conclusion: Sponsorship+Politics=Influence".

They describe the situation, quote the rapporteur of the panel, Ralf Bendrath, that he was somewhat surprised to see the conclusions of the expert panel modified, and concluded that since this was the only substantial change it was very questionable.

In the comments you also find a statement by the chairman of the conference, Prof Peter Bruck who attacks the ORF for their "misleading and manipulating" report. According to him, everything is fine, because there was a blog on which this had been discussed.

When checking out the blog, you find five (!) entries, two of which are procedural. Of the remaining three, one is a statement that does not refer to the "Digital Righs & Creative Commons" panel in any way, one is a argument-free pro-DRM statement by the "Cox Orange" PR company (whose site is entirely unusable because of Flash) in the name of creativ wirtschaft austria. If anyone can tell me who they really represent, please let me know.

The last statement is by Thomas Lutz in the name of Microsoft, in which they spread the typical anti-Free Software propaganda:

p5/2. Digital Rights/Creative Commons While we largely agree on the point that more choices should be given to creators and users (and the subsequent conclusions on Creative Commons or Wikipedia) we explicitly disagree on the notion that "increasingly, revenue is generated not by selling content and digital works, as they can be freely distributed at almost no cost, but by offering services on top of them. The success of the Free Software Model is one example" and propose to delete this text part completely, as it contains only an one-sided perspective on the ICT industry. The rationale for this is, that the aim of free software is not to enable a healthy business on software but rather to make it even impossible to make any income on software as a commercial product.


This is so obviously stupid and nonsensical that it seems pointless to comment on it: Just another monopolist trying to uphold their monopoly by preventing freedom of markets — which is what Free Software really aims at.

More interesting: This is the proof, Free Software was removed on request of Microsoft.

Given this was a conference with hundreds of high-level participants and discussing a rather hot topic, do you wonder why are there only five entries in this blog? Do you wonder why noone tore the Microsoft propaganda apart? There is an easy answer to this: Noone on the panel ever knew this blog existed. I just learned this now.

In fact: in Vienna everyone wondered where the chapeau had come from, whether it was possible to work on it, what would be the outcome of the conference… it was all entirely intransparent to us. Any claims to a transparent and participatory process collapse when looking into them just a little bit.

Furthermore, Microsoft was not willing to make these statements in the panel. They were at the conference, but gave the "Digital Rights & Creative Commons" panel a wide berth. They did not dare to say this in public, knowing full well it would not hold up to the daylight of reason.

All the panelists were quoted in the publication with name and picture, and the text in question was presented as an outcome of our panel.

So where exactly did the manipulation and misrepresentation take place?

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About Georg Greve

Georg Greve is a technologist and entrepreneur. Background as a software developer and physicist. Head of product development and Chairman at Vereign AG. Founding president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). Previously president and CEO at Kolab Systems AG, a Swiss Open Source ISV. In 2009 Georg was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon by the Federal Republic of Germany for his contributions to Open Source and Open Standards.
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One Response to The next Vienna Conclusion: So it WAS Microsoft that asked to delete Free Software

  1. Pingback: The Fellowship of FSFE.

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