Microsoft tries to prevent Free Software (Spiegel Article)

OP Mailserver user s96121272 at
Fri Jul 6 11:57:42 UTC 2001

Hi all,
 On Thu, 05 Jul 2001, MJ Ray wrote:
 > "OP Mailserver user" <s96121272 at> writes:
 > > There is a danger in responding too seriously to Microsoft's allegations.
 > > We may appear to give credibility to their "Big Lie".
 > > 
 > > I think we should make their rhetoric humorous so that people laugh at them:
 > There is a bigger danger in responding non-seriously to this. It 
 > makes us look like a joke and just another group of Microsoft-bashers. 

Yes, I accept Alesandro's point, nothing comming from the FSF should appear childish. 
Any mocking should be done privately and humorously. 
The aim should be to discredit FUD-tactics, not show grudges.
But we do need to deter Microsoft from making cheapshots, 
AND we need to get our message to the public,
inspite of mega-bucks propaganda. 

Sun can look after itself. 
Their major contirbution to date has been releasing Open Office on GPL. 
If they do the same with Java, 
then Microsoft will never be able to "make them go away". 

We need to build our own PR machine.
We don't have money, but we do have people. 
I propose we set up a "media-watch" mailing list and work group: 
There would be two tasks, Responsive and Proactive media relations. 

Members of the list would each volunteer to scan one or more publications
for articles/letters/adverts about or against Freesoftware or Copyleft. 

When an article is found 
(i)copy/link it to the list with comments 

(ii)write a proposed official reply based on FSF documents,citing links and post it on the list. 
(this could be thankyou for a good article, or correction of errors etc...) 

(iii)a moderator/elderstatesman checks the reply (as do other readers of the list), before sending it to the publication

(iv)The reply as published by the paper/TV show is posted on the list. 

If a publication does not respond, then we ask other members of the list to write to them.
Individual letters are often ignored, hundereds of letters are rarely ignored. 
(In most countries the FSF can cliam a legal "right to reply",
as the representative of the copyleft and the freesoftware movement.)

If certain publications show a proprietary software bias then we can specifially complain. 
(eg Newsweek's computing section is just a link to the Microsoft Network.) 

We could steadily improve our PR skills, 
and write a PR FAQ to suggest the best ways of handling the press. 

If any individual wishes to send private anti-FUD letters we ask that they do not cite our website, 
or do anything which links them to the FSF, Citing links should be left to serious letters.

(i)Gather information about events/news in free software. 
(This is what Georg has already been doing with Brave Gnu World.) 

(ii)Media-watch list members write to the newspapers/TV Stations they monitor 
with those pieces of news most relevant to each paper/station.
 (eg tell the educational supplement about new educational freesoftware releases from the Offset group) 

(iii)Report back to the list wrt how the news was covered. 

(iv)Make a longer list of publications by category of reader interests & send relevant press releases to them. 
(In time we would recuit supporters from their readership to write publication specific letters.) 

The point is to get our message to the general public. 
To do that we need frequent, accurate coverage in the lay media. 

We don't have the money for advertising. 
We are not a profit making corporation. 
We are a popular movement that is changing peoples lives for the better, as such we are news. 

It is time to move the debate about freedom in software
 from special-interest to the main-stream media. 

If each of us covers one or two publications we can make a big difference. 

Nick Hockings." 

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