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I am not against the size or wealth of Microsoft, the use of its software
as helpful, or the ability for the company to somehow succeed by merit of
proper production. I greatly value Harmony in life. However,
society does not tollerate 900 pound gorillas running rampant in civilized
streets... it's a nuisance, a hazard.
It is vital for the public to have a freedom of choice in their tools.
Indeed, it is a cycle of history that when technology is leveraged
by an aristocracy or oligarchy to their own benefit and the public detriment,
eventually that technology becomes democratized. Today's greatest
examples are the Open Source Software and Free Software movements.
A real choice must be practicable. I have been operating Microsoft-free
systems since July 2001, and expanding both in servers and desktop operations.
When I started, Linux made for a good server directly out-of-the-box.
Today, it's also a great workstation OS for desktop PCs and laptops alike.
Reasons to Boycott
Choices of Operating System have individual rationales and performance
There is an excellent writeup titled
Windows XP Shows the Direction Microsoft is Going
by Micheal Jennings. It helps detail the need seen for governments to migrate away from Microsoft.
- Cost of software product. Not just purchase, but license
renewal, engineering, support, and other factors add up to the Total Cost
of Ownership. (Not that you get to 'own' the software... Anyone but the manufacturer
gets little more than the storage medium and a license.)
- Contractual obligations of End User License Agreements (EULAs).
These prohibit behaviors which cost its users freedoms. Many
commercial EULAs will invalidate your eligability to use and distribute
the software for which you paid. In fact, many of them claim no responsibility
to work for any benefit for the paying customer. A Free Software license
such as the GNU GPL, however, may restrict its distribution by requiring
availability of source code, but no one can ever take this software from
- Lock-In. There is substantial cost involved when the
manufacturer discontinues product support after three to five years, obligating
the customer to new requirements of new products. Such requirements
include new license fees (sometimes annual), hardware requirements, development
costs for changed product, dependance upon other products from the same manufacturer,
etc... If the financial weight wasn't bad enough, the loss of freedom should
have more meaning.
- Security of software product. More choices among modules
often means greater capabilities for secure operations.
- Moral Outrage. Microsoft has been documented to use
anti-competitive practices, and was repeatedly found guilty of such in
federal court. Besides, it is a human right to use commercial choice
to deny the unjust their spoils, whether ill-gotten or perfectly legal. Even
if you feel their conduct is not a crime, it must be your choice to decide if
the quality with which they treat their partners and customers is deserving of
Where can I learn about the Boycott Campaigns?
The original Boycott Microsoft site
, and of particular interest is the
Dirty Tricks page.
Microsoft Boycott campaign carries
an Anti-MS SuperList of websites.
Where can I explore alternatives to Microsoft products?
Forerunners among Operating Systems are Linux and FreeBSD.
Some good Linux
distributions include RedHat ,
Linux on Laptops details successes
of running Linux on most laptop models.
Your Windows-based servers can likely be
replaced with Linux today! Samba
file and printer sharing and
Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAMs) are greatly interoperable with
your Windows desktops and servers.
Office products are growing rapidly in number. Sun's
StarOffice product and their open source initiative
OpenOffice.org have quickly matured. Other big players include
Office and KDE's
KOffice offerings, available in any good linux distribution.
There are all sorts of open source internet and multimedia alternatives
as well. I won't detail them all here, but I will say that all my web
browsing, CD burning, DVD viewing, MP3 serving needs are met in Linux.
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