Slush Funds, Litigation for Linux Advocates

by Tom Adelstein

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Approximately eight years ago, I finally learned enough about Linux to use it in my daily life. I remember feeling a sense of relief because it worked, felt stable, didn't need rebooting all the time, provided me all the tools I needed and gave me new things to learn, especially about Internet services.

At the time, I anchored a Microsoft Partner's e-commerce practice. I had always been the MS Certified engineer with my name on the Solution Provider form. I didn't think much about it. Microsoft furnished the desktop and many of the infrastructures on which I worked.

Once I got over the learning curve with Linux, I just stopped booting up my Windows machine and did everyting in Linux. I didn't consider myself a traitor to Microsoft, I just enjoyed the Linux experience.

Working in a MS Partner's practice created some conflicts and I didn't know why. I brought a Red Hat box to the office and within a short time found myself the subject of ridicule and eventually a demand to take it home. In fact, the guys in IT unplugged it and put it in a locked storage area while I was away. I thought that someone had stolen it.

When I finally tracked the system down, I got the "we only use Microsoft at Cap Gemini" lecture. I had to read a manual I had never seen that explained one could only use Microsoft while employed at the firm.

I felt rather odd working at a firm that held itself out to be the best consultancy in the world, when our critical systems didn't work much of the time. We had odd versions of Office on various machines, unlicensed utilities, MS Exchange, etc.

Eventually, I left the firm and started my own consultancy - a Linux consultancy. I discovered the vitriolic dislike Microsoft had for everyone. I had never been on the other side of the fence so it came as a surprise.

It doesn't take long to discover the dislike Microsoft has for its competitors, just attempt to build a Linux server on name brand computers and see what happens.

All I really wanted was to run Linux, help others, make a living providing support for businesses wanting a stable platform to handle their web services and do my job well.

I never understood why that was a crime in the eyes of Microsoft. What about my business created a threat to them? I wasn't attempting to put them out of business, so I felt very confused about their attitude toward Linux and by association - me.

I thought I lived in a free country and that my government would protect me from harmful tactics. I thought that America was the land of the free and the home of the brave. I believed that the law would allow me to pursue my dreams and aspirations without the henderance of companies like Microsoft. But, alas, I discovered differently.

I consider Microsoft weird. Normal people don't act the way they do. Abnormal people go to extremes when they feel the least threat whether real or imagined.

So, when I uncover behavior like I do with Microsoft and I write about it, don't consider me having a vendetta. I believe describing what I consider abnormal behavior, something about which one would normally write.

And when it gets down to the basics of my nature, I consider myself first and foremost a writer.

The referenced article is Following Bill Gates Linux Attack Money: Slush Funds, Litigation for FOSS Advocates