[linux-elitists] Microsoft alienating MCSEs

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Wed Mar 15 17:04:18 PST 2000

Quoting Heather (star@betelgeuse.starshine.org):

> Either take action or buckle under but don't bother protesting, hm?  And
> what about when protesting IS action?  Windows Refund Day....

Excellent comparison.  Let's run with it.

To the extent that Windows Refund Day had a point, it was to (1) be a
PR stunt for open source, secondarily (2) bring to manufacturers'
attention that their interests would be served by ceasing to ignore and
antagonise Linux/*BSD users, and lastly (3) helping the DoJ and
prospective plaintiffs notice another potential cause of legal/regulatory 

Truthfully, however, the biggest reason for Windows Refund Day was to
save the open source community from the disaster Matt Jensen lined up
for us.

Jensen, who's some random in Seattle with an underpowered Web server and
not a whole lot of common sense, declared "Windows Refund Day" out of
the blue as a dumb-ass do-it-yourself event where everyone was supposed
to individually (and behind closed doors) go to one's PC manufacturer
somewhere in the world, and whine.  He put up a Web page urging this
idea, and got it on Slashdot.  No clue about public relations; no 
clue about spin control.  All somebody hostile to open source had to do
was find and interview some random scruffy character professing a desire
to get his refund (to "scam the Man") and then keep on using the
software, anyway.  Publish.  Editorialise.  Make it a cause.  

That would be a huge PR black-eye for open source, and Jensen lacked
Clue One about this possibility, or about how lame and stupid it would 
be to have a disorganised trickle into OEM offices all over creation.

So, Don Marti, Jim Gleason, Nick Moffitt, Mark Bolzern, Deirdre Saoirse,
and I joined Jensen's effort -- in order to take it away from him and 
redefine it in some less-futile and less-risky fashion.  That is, the
entire event from that point forward was _strictly_ damage-control.  To
undo the damage that moron did (or at least started) with his half-baked

For the sake of this discussion, though, let's pretend as if Windows
Refund Day had been a planned-from-the-beginning, relatively sane idea,
instead of just damage control.

Looking from that perspective, the key point is that it had some half-way
realistic, concrete goals (listed above).  Some of which it ended up

So, let's examine the MCSE "letter" and comments attached thereto.  The
signers want Microsoft to change its policy -- but that policy is a fait
accompli, which the letter/comments cannot realistically influence.  As
a PR gesture, Microsoft Corporation _may_ choose to make some basically 
meaningless adjustment to its plans and call that a concession to show
that they "listen" and "hear your concerns".  But the reality of the 
situation is that Microsoft has heard its captive drones complain
before, and _all_ they get out of it is licence to vent.

> His formalized protest is merely another sign of how the tide is turning; 
> it may be futile in the small scale, but it still needed to be said.

The tide is turning for entirely unrelated reasons.

And MCSEs are a dime a dozen.  Losing 30% to a <spit> Red Hat
certification program won't even be noticed.
And don't count on bolstering the Linux community with these people. 
Nobody with iota of initiative ever bothers with the MCSE program.

Cheers,     Founding member of the Hyphenation Society, a grassroots-based, 
Rick Moen   not-for-profit, locally-owned-and-operated, cooperatively-managed,
rick (at) linuxmafia.com  modern-American-English-usage-improvement association

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