a handbook for destroying the free software movement
last edited: Wed, 19 Jun 2019 06:02:30 -0400
: microsofts tactics against gnu/linux have not changed much in two decades, theyre just framed differentlylicense of work
: mit-like Cover and quick Introduction
the key strategy is not to destroy free software completely, but to break it in enough important places so that it poses less and less of a threat to your near-monopoly.
chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend
Your brand won’t survive if you keep telling people “we spy on you, we remove features you rely on to force you to update the software you’ve grown accustomed to, we work hard and do dirty things to keep the playing field from ever becoming even or allowing a competitor the opportunity to sell you a better product.” You must look like you care. And nobody knows more about fooling people into thinking you care, than your marketing team.
Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team
Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical refers to proprietary firmware such as ACPI as a “Trojan horse” and security risk. The only security risk is to the user– while your company can be the Trojan army.
Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development
Without control, there is chaos. Even when a competing developer makes a terrible mistake– it hurts people’s trust in the digital connectivity and surveillance we want to put in every home, car, phone, wristwatch, pacemaker, thermostat, doorbell, front lock, pedometer, camera, speaker, television, refrigerator, dishwasher, power meter, radio, and e-book reader, for starters.
Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you
The truth is that a lot of people can get what they need or even want, without spending additional funds. Our goal is to be creative with that truth, and once again “accentuate the positive.” The positives we are going to focus on, are the positives of spending more.
Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side
They might not appreciate an irreparable, proprietary kernel as much as we do– but they understand that not all improvements are free or open. These are people we can work with. And if we can work with them, we can take advantage of them.
Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything
A superior product is like a politician’s speech– the best way to sell a lie is to put a truth in it, so people assume the rest of it is also the truth. And when you want to sell a new product you can do the same thing: start with a feature people are desperate to have, and you can build a lot of garbage around it as long as the important features are satisfying enough.
Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company
To prevent other people from creating a taskbar, or a search engine, or some other software we want to be the sole providers of, we need to find a way to apply patents to our work.
Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects
It’s quite different in the world of Free and Open Source software. We can behave exactly like The North Face, do just as much to vandalize and be bastardly, we can even stake claim to their work (and have them agree it is our own!) and become wealthier and gain a heroic reputation in the process.
Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world
Like Bernays helped Lucky Strike not by changing the branding but changing its association, we can still fight GNU not by owning the brand but changing its association– we will continue to work to make them has-beens, neckbeards, amateurs, ideologues, zealots, and even bigots.
Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly
In the future, we may want to get more involved in firmware and move more features from software to hardware. So far, we have mostly used firmware as a way to reinforce our place in the software market. Meanwhile Lenovo has used firmware to actually reinstall unwanted software, features and surveillance directly.