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Hilf Claims Free Software Movement Dead 395

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the faster-than-a-speeding-fud dept.
moe1975 writes to mention that Bill Hilf has taken a rather aggressive stance with regard to the status of the Free Software movement. With claims like; "The Free Software movement is dead. Linux doesn't exist in 2007. Even Linus has got a job today" it would certainly seem that the next offensive is going to be sponsored by denial. "For the desktop, Hilf sees a new frontier in terms of rich client programming. With more and more services by Amazon, Google, Yahoo and, of course, Microsoft being run as services rather than as software installed locally, it will be up to the desktop to provide richer functionality."
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Hilf Claims Free Software Movement Dead

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  • by catbutt (469582) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:10PM (#19122169)
    Thank you.
    • by zappepcs (820751)
      You mean 'free' as in he didn't get any of the 'free' lunch?
      Or is that 'free' as in 'free' to ask "Hilf who?"
      Or perhaps 'free' as ... well, you know, information about encryption cracks?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      After reading the article I would have to say that what he said was "Free Software is dead". And what was meant was that FOSS is developed by corporate entities that are in it to make a profit.

      Which isn't to say that he doesn't have a frickin clue since the idea of FOSS wasn't to prevent people from making money with it. Or from allowing companies to be formed to make money from it, or even to develop it. But to allow the open source and FOSS to be developed openly and thus "Freely" to allow more innovation
    • The only thing more depressing than a high-profile corporate exec trotting out ye olde "we're serious businessmen; those linux guys are hippies" is that -- sigh -- it's going to work at least a little bit. I still run into people who think that free software "can't work" because it requires to be superhumanly selfless.
  • Misread ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bassman59 (519820) <andy@@@latke...net> on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:10PM (#19122173) Homepage
    I though the headline read, "MILF Claims Free Software Movement Dead."
    • by Mattintosh (758112) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:20PM (#19122359)
      Hey, yesterday was MILF Day, wasn't it?
    • by rohar (253766) *
      Horse
    • What I'd like to know is... If I submit an article, does it have a better chance of being accepted if it's from som obscure or international news source like www.bangkokpost.com?
      • ... generally you'll do much better by submitting idiotic inflammatory statements from __________ (I can't even think o f anything to call him) who say, e.g.

        "Hilf said that the Linux phenomenon had nothing to do with Linux, but rather it had a lot to do with Apache, MySQL and PHP. It was those applications which pulled Linux up with it, the "Visual Basic of open source.""
        • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:57PM (#19122925) Homepage
          This one's even better:

          "That's the dirty little secret. When I talk to open source developers, at least half are talking about Windows, from SugarCRM, MySQL, PHP. Every single one,"

          Every single one ... of half of them?
          • I don't really see the big deal even with that. So what if MySQL developers work to get it running in Windows. I mean, they work to get it running on AIX, OSX and FreeBSD as well. Generally one of the purposes of open source is to make software available on as many platforms as possible. Another thing open source developers are frequently interested in, which Microsoft is pretty much the sworn enemy of, is interoperability.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by crumley (12964) *
              Really, what is the big deal? If a developer bothers to talk to someone from Microsoft, it seems like it would be pretty likely that the developer would have an interest in Windows. I mean what else is a MySQL guy going to ask him about? DOS ? X-box? Bob ?
          • by NickFortune (613926) on Monday May 14, 2007 @08:23PM (#19123813) Homepage Journal

            "That's the dirty little secret. When I talk to open source developers, at least half are talking about Windows, from SugarCRM, MySQL, PHP. Every single one,"

            Interesting, isn't it?

            The FOSS devs are mainly interested in writing software people want to use. To that end they don't really care what platform their stuff runs on, so long as people find it useful.

            Microsoft on the other hand approach the problem from the opposite direction. They don't really care whether people find their software particularly useful or not, so long as they can destroy all the alternatives. You could hardly ask for a more succinct summary of the difference between the two camps.

            As an aside, wasn't Hilf supposed to be from a FOSS background, back before MS hired him as their Open Source Guy? Seems either he never really understood FOSS, or else he's just been at MS so long that's gone native.

            I wonder which is is: "has been" or "never was" :)

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by stephanruby (542433)
              "When I talk to open source developers, at least half are talking about Windows, from SugarCRM, MySQL, PHP. "

              Some developers install MySQL on Windows. Does he really think this is good news for his company? In my shop, we used to pay $11,000 for a license of SQL Server 2000 (the Enterprise version), now we're paying around $2,000 or $3,000 for SQL Server 2005 (it's for the Workgroup version, but the Workgroup version works just as well for us as the Enterprise version did previously). That's a net loss o
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:53PM (#19122875)
      > I though the headline read, "MILF Claims Free Software Movement Dead."

      Hey, we can go ragging on Bill (be it Gates or Hilf), and the chair-throwing monkey-boy minion, but leave Melinda outa of it. At least until she gives us reason not to leave her out of it, of course.

      • ... but leave Melinda outa of it. At least until she gives us reason not to leave her out of it, of course.

        She already did. His name is "Bob".
  • by iamacat (583406) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:15PM (#19122263)
    TFA claims that just because IBM and Redhat are involved in free software development, the code is somehow less free. The fact is that anyone can fork off Redhat and give away or sell support for their own distribution. In fact, this is commonly done.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dpninerSLASH (969464) *
      This is just FURTHER indication about how scared Microsoft is right now. Even on the desktop side, in which Linux has arguably not made much of a splash, a major PC manufacturer has agreed to start distributing it.

      It's almost sad, really. It's like that last emotionally-charged argument made when someone realizes they've lost debate. MS will never go bankrupt, but their days on top are over.
    • That is what he's saying, but it's really hard to see how this could make sense to anyone. Bill Hilf quote from the article:

      They are full-time employees, with 401K stock options. Some work for IBM or Oracle. What does that mean? It means that Linux doesn't exist any more in 2007.

      What does that even mean? Linux is well funded, and therefore doesn't exist?

  • is like OJ saying he didn't do it.
  • by alucinor (849600) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:17PM (#19122313) Journal
    Wow! And aren't the Japanese getting ready to migrate to this non-existant software ecosystem? How very philosophically Eastern of them! It's like some sort of crazy Zen thing!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chris Burke (6130)
      Yeah, they're trying to compute by not computing. Whereas when you run Windows, it's the opposite!

      Now me, I once tried Zen programming: Coding by not-coding.

      Sadly Zen programming resulted in my employer Zen paying me.
    • It's like some sort of crazy Zen thing!


      What is the sound of a bluescreen crashing alone while everybody uses Linux instead ?
  • Denial (Score:5, Funny)

    by phoric (833867) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:18PM (#19122323)
    This article does not exist in 2007.

    Move right along.
  • Yawn. More FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rohar (253766) * <bob.rohatensky@sasktel.net> on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:19PM (#19122337) Homepage Journal
    FUD confusing open source with free software by unpaid programmers, making up windows server base numbers and referring to _AMP as "Visual Basic of open source" that pulled Linux along and what the programmers really want is to run their apps on Vista. Interoperability should only happen after a decade or so, because no one wants it anyway. A guy develops a 3d interface but can't figure out how that would work with Linux. Just FUD, nothing happening here folks, keep moving along.
  • by CanSpice (300894) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:20PM (#19122365) Homepage
    LOL
  • by Greyfox (87712)
    Probably just some schmuck trolling for Slashdot-generated ad-dollars again.
  • "They are full-time employees, with 401K stock options. Some work for IBM or Oracle. What does that mean? It means that Linux doesn't exist any more in 2007. There is no free software movement. If someone says Linux is about Love, Peace and Harmony, I would tell them to do their research. There is no free software movement any more. There is big commercial [firms] like IBM and there is small commercial [firms] like Ubuntu," he said.
    Right, because commercial businesses have never supported, contributed to or founded free software before. Oh yes, and because FSF has always stated that free software is against business. People work at companies and people power free software. Having a job doesn't make a someone a non-person. And, for the record, Linus Torvalds is not the representative of the free software movement (thank heavens!) -- he's half-assed even as an advocate.
  • Indeed (Score:5, Funny)

    by sd_diamond (839492) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:22PM (#19122395) Homepage

    You might even say that the Free Software Movement is in its "Last Throes".

    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      News to me. My Open Source nBody model is just getting started..

      Ok I don't have many users, its not exactly mainstream, but I see no reason to stop because some loser says my chosen distribution method is dead.

      What he measn is he wishes it were so, and that everyone could carry on using the proprietary model to produce crappy expensive stuff without all this nasty decent competitive software inconveniently proving that theirs is not the only way to do things, and certainly not the best.

      There is, I admit, a
    • Haven't you heard? Free Software programmers are committing suicide by the thousands at the gates of Redmond!
  • Microsoft hurting? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PineHall (206441) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:22PM (#19122405)
    This person at InfoWorld [infoworld.com] thinks Microsoft must really be hurting for them to be saying these things.
  • by Hobbs0 (1055434) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:23PM (#19122417)
    If Free Software and Linux is dead then why is Microsoft claiming that it violates 235 of their patents.
  • Who the hell is Bill Hilf and why should I care?

    Seriously. Someone give me a reason this isn't just the mass-media version of a GNAA/"BSD is dying" comment on /.

  • It's still free! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LoudMusic (199347) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:25PM (#19122445)

    "For the desktop, Hilf sees a new frontier in terms of rich client programming. With more and more services by Amazon, Google, Yahoo and, of course, Microsoft being run as services rather than as software installed locally, it will be up to the desktop to provide richer functionality."
    The online services provided by Google and Yahoo are ... wait for it ... free software!

    People aren't moving to online services. They're still moving to "free". Just happens it's online instead of locally installed. Woop-de-fucking-do.
    • by Coryoth (254751)

      People aren't moving to online services. They're still moving to "free". Just happens it's online instead of locally installed. Woop-de-fucking-do.

      And lets be honest, Linux is better at online applications than most. There's an application browser [howtoforge.com] that has a vast array of applications. You click a couple of buttons, and lo and behold you are running the application. Sure, the application is running locally, but how different is it really from having (or example) a java webstart application download and fire itself up? Not a lot -- the only difference here is that we have a dedicated application browser isntead of having to hunt around web pages with

  • Hilf said that the Linux phenomenon had nothing to do with Linux, but rather it had a lot to do with Apache, MySQL and PHP. It was those applications which pulled Linux up with it, the "Visual Basic of open source."

    Yeah, and Microsoft had it's breakthrough because they bought an IBM compatible OS, made the right deals and all games/apps were written for MS/DOS because of monopoly and trust in the already established Intel/IBM. It had nothing to do with MS/DOS per se. It was an arbitrary OS at the right place, at the right time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QDOS [wikipedia.org]

    But I think the gain of Linux has more to do with quality in comparison to MS/DOS and Windows.

  • I spent like 5 minutes trying to figure out what the 'H' stood for, before reading the rest of the summary.
  • Story Mod (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Daishiman (698845) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:29PM (#19122513)
    Can we moderate this story "Troll" or "Flamebait"?
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:32PM (#19122547)

    Linux doesn't exist in 2007. Even Linus has got a job today.


    So, apparently, "Free Software" only exists if the people making it are unemployed?

    Does this even begin to make sense?

    Oh, wait, its from the "head of Microsoft's Linux Labs". Microsoft sayibng "Free Software is dead and Linux doesn't exist" isn't news, though I guess the fact that they've changed how they are saying it might be.

    Having failed with the "Free Software is unreliable stuff put out by hippie slackers ideologues that have no idea how to make software usable in the real world" line, Microsoft is apparently now trying out a new line of FUD which doesn't even superficially make sense. "Big companies are involved in open source and people are getting paid, so, whatever the licensing terms say, its somehow not really free"?
  • Linus has been employed for more than a decade with duties including maintaining Linux kernel development. In fact, Linus has had a Linux-related job longer than Hilf has worked for Microsoft. In the past decide, Linux doesn't seem to have lost much of its standing or popularity due to commercial participation, so it looks like that wasn't bad news.
  • [Scene: A room that looks like a giant shoe box made to look like a dollhouse or a diorama (remember those from elementary school?) This whole skit is shot in black and white and has the tone of a fifties school film both in music and acting style.]

    [The philosophers sit and, and drink and stroke their beards until Bruce turns to Mark.]

    Bruce: Free Software is dead.

    Announcer V.O.: Yes. "Free Software is dead", cried Hilf. And the cry has been heard for years. But for each philosopher, there has been a cynic.
  • by dalutong (260603) <djtansey.gmail@com> on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:36PM (#19122625)
    His logic is absurd. Assuming these web apps are standards compliant, they are the death knell of Windows hegemony. The only question is whether Microsoft can somehow manage to make their apps only work (or at least only work fully) on IE/Windows.
  • Huh, strange... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HaeMaker (221642) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:37PM (#19122639) Homepage
    How am I able to read this article? It is running LAMP.

    Netcraft on bangkokpost.com [netcraft.com]

    Even more strange, over 56% of the web [netcraft.com] must not exist either?
  • by dircha (893383) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:38PM (#19122661)
    These same commercial web services will benefit GNU/Linux.

    At present I am an OS X user because I am willing to pay for the high quality, hassle-free user experience Apple provides.

    But already 90%+ of my computer use outside of work is of web-based. So long as GNU/Linux continues to be - and continues to improve as - a viable platform for this content, I suspect a great number of users will continue to inch nearer to being able to use GNU/Linux as their primary (and sole) system.

    I'd really like to see usage statistics for the general populace: percentage breakdowns of non-business related usage categories.

    My guess: email, web browsing, multimedia, games, taxes.
  • I'm impressed, even the open source guys at Microsoft don't get open source. Last I heard, Hilf had done a lot to promote open source principles in Redmond. Either that was bullshit, or Ballmer finally noticed and is now stuffing FUD-filled press releases into Hilf's mouth for him to dutifully regurgitate.

    There is no Linux, Inc. that employs the kernel developers. If he thinks OSS is all about Apache, MySQL, and PHP, then he is inconceivably myopic.

    "That's the dirty little secret. When I talk to open s

    • by mshurpik (198339)
      Did you notice this in his quote?

      "That's the dirty little secret. When I talk to open source developers, at least half are talking about Windows, from SugarCRM, MySQL, PHP. Every single one," he said.

      He sounds rushed.

      Hilf said that the Linux phenomenon had nothing to do with Linux, but rather it had a lot to do with Apache, MySQL and PHP. It was those applications which pulled Linux up with it, the "Visual Basic of open source."

      "Visual Basic" implies that PHP made it drop-dead easy to develop web apps on Li

  • I wonder what flawed logic Bill Hilf bases his prediction on? His baseless remarks, if anything, are indicative of the fear that must be pervasive in the Microsoft culture. Linux is not the moot point that Hilf claims it is nor are the BSDs. Mostly his statement is a FUD attack that is so desperate that it is laughable. As little as five years ago, statements like these were apt to be taken more seriously. Free/Open Source Software is here to stay. Once the Samba Project completes its version 4, Micro
    • by DogDude (805747)
      Why not have the community develop for you? Red Hat does just that and is a very profitable company.

      From 2006 to 2007, Redhat sales increased 43%, and profit decreased by 25%. They're making a 15% return on their sales. RedHat isn't doing particular well.

      During that same period, MS's sales increased by 11%, and their profit increased by 2.8%. They're making a 28.5% return on sales.

      You might want to take a look at your own FUD you're spreading.
  • I'll skip the usual Netcraft.com joke, and just say that the Bangkok Post, which is the linked host, itself runs on Linux, according to Netcraft.
  • to say that crap and he's paid to harm the open source market because it threatens the Microsoft Windows monopoly.
    I hope this isn't new folks because Bill Hilf went to 'the dark side' the day he signed up with Microsoft because Microsoft's only* product is Microsoft Windows and must be protected at all costs.

    *)Without Microsoft Windows, none of their other products matter. None.

    LoB
  • "We have driven the infidels from the nation...There are no enemy troops within the city...Our troops have reclaimed the airport."

    Seriously, this guy is *literally* trying to claim that F/OSS is dead because it's succeeding.
  • by SadGeekHermit (1077125) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:49PM (#19122819)
    * Linux doesn't exist because it's actually everywhere, distributed by gigantic companies which make zillions of dollars off it.

    * The Open Source Movement doesn't exist because it's been adopted by companies both large and small, which are all merrily making a profit from it.

    * Because Open Source is mostly commercial and very successful, making lots of money for the large and small companies that are involved in it, the only way to "grow the ecosystem" is to switch to the Microsoft products nobody wants to buy anymore.

    * Linux is only popular because it's the foundation for the LAMP web-development stack, which has been trouncing .Net in the market (this makes me wonder if Hilf, back in high school, used to grumble that "the only reason Randy the Quarterback gets laid is because he has a Mustang...").

    * Because Open Source Software runs on Windows too, all those Apache guys are probably running Windows.

    * Standards are a communist plot started by those hippies at IBM because darnit, they just don't like Microsoft. It's not fair (hilf makes pouty face).

    * WPF-E needs a better name so everybody will want to program in it. If WPF-E gets a cool name like Flash, everybody will use it immediately.

    * Because Programming is Hard and that's Just Not Cool, Microsoft wants to make it like "turning a knob" so that developers don't have to work in high-paying jobs anymore, and can go find something new to do for minimum wage that'll probably be funner.

    Did I miss anything? I swear reading his comments is like being hit with one Zen Koan after another, machine gun style. What is the sound of one hand clapping?

    Phew. Too much, too much. I've gotta go do something fun for a while. Hmm...

    Warhammer 40K! Death to the False Emperor! C'mere, you Eldar hussy, you...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kuzb (724081)
      Ok, to start off, I'm going to say I would like Linux to get further along. I'm by no means a MS apologist, nor do I completely agree with the article. However the parent poster has almost completely missed what is being said here.

      * Linux doesn't exist because it's actually everywhere, distributed by gigantic companies which make zillions of dollars off it.

      What he's trying to say is that the ideological idea that was "Linux" is being (has been?) lost as it's main supporters are no longer small hobbiests w
  • I've always considered Microsoft a dangerous beast. I mean, given their size and their success, they must have some really smart people there, no matter if their products are crap most of the time. Then this joker comes along and gives me that warm fuzzy feeling. Is this what they have to offer as head of their Linux Labs? Ah, we're safe.

    "[Linux developers] are full-time employees, with 401K stock options. Some work for IBM or Oracle. What does that mean? It means that Linux doesn't exist any more in 2007.
  • It's not so much that in 2007, free software developers all of a sudden all got jobs, it's more that in 2007, Microsoft finally figures out that free software isn't being developed by out of work hippies.

    Mr. Hilf, just keep going. At this pace, you might figure the free software movement out in, oh, perhaps by the time that your market share will have dropped into the low teens.
  • Saying "Linux doesn't exist anymore" is a strong statement.

    And implying that "open source developers" have a "dirty little secret" is groundless and unnecessarily emotive.

    I read into this that MS are worried. They are starting to see open source software as the serious threat that it has become to them.

    Open source software has proven itself in the first years of the 21st century more than able to match closed source in terms of security and quality. Every day I am impressed by the countless free programs I
  • more and more services by Amazon, Google, Yahoo and, of course, Microsoft being run as services rather than as software installed locally,

    Yeah, this will really help my Mom, running over that dial-up line still to check her e-mail, browse a few web-pages, play some games, and do word processing. It will keep her off the street as the applications download.

  • Free Software Movement is and FSM that is dead? Well - this FSM [wikipedia.org] is ALIVE
  • by Vexorian (959249)
    A one line version of the article: "Free software doesn't exist because it is now profitable"
  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Monday May 14, 2007 @07:01PM (#19122977)
    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi.

    We have now moved from the ignore phase to the ridicule phase. Fasten your seatbelts kids, its going to get bumpy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OmegaBlac (752432)
      We are already passed the ridicule stage. We are now in the fight stage, hence the multiple threats made by Ballmer over the past year about FOSS violating MS's IP, the Forbes article--posted here yesterday--where Microsoft's Mr. Gutierrez and Brad Smith are looking to extort money out of companies that use FOSS, the Novell deal, funding of SCO, the attempts to derail ODF, and so on. Time to hunker down folks as Microsoft's opening barrage has only just begun.
  • Along with:
    • The light at the end of the tunnel in Vietnam
    • Turning the corner in the war on drugs
    • "Mission accomplished" in Iraq
    • "Making the world safe for democracy."
    • "Peace in our time"
    • ...
  • For one thing things are really moving to service-oriented operating systems and applications. I use Google docs and spreadsheets instead of OpenOffice, I use Flickr instead of iPhoto, I use Gmail instead of Kmail/Outlook/Mail.app. MS is moving to a cool new direction, I don't care what happens to the Desktop. Ubuntu is nice and all and will probably make great headway in that area. But it's a ho-hum dead-end anyway as far as my interest goes. I do all my work online (using whatever... sure Ubuntu/Gentoo th
  • First line is enough: "Linux doesn't exist in 2007. Even Linus has got a job today." Controversial statements from the head of Microsoft's Linux Labs...
  • by 3seas (184403) on Monday May 14, 2007 @07:46PM (#19123435) Journal
    ... concerns over the 235 patents of theirs they claim Linux infringes?

    Or maybe they are pretending Linux doesn't exist today so tomorrow when they recognize that it does they can claim all of Linux is infringing their patents... ya know a prior art thing.
  • by natet (158905) on Monday May 14, 2007 @07:56PM (#19123543)

    "Standards is the first thing you go to in the competitive strategy playbook. Of course, IBM and Sun won't say that on the record. You create a problem that didn't exist and use standards to force a problem," he said.

    I have short stories and essays I created using Microsoft Word 10-15 years ago that I can't open with Word today. None of these used any fancier formatting than double spacing and varying font sizes. That is why standards are important. We can't apparently expect Microsoft to keep the formats backwards compatible, so it is up to us as consumers to seek standards that will ensure that the information we create today will be just as accessible tomorrow.

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