The devil, often times, is in the details. And when it comes to details, the Free Software Foundation, the nonprofit organization that supports the free software movement, is taking no prisoners.

They have just deemed all Microsoft software as malware — good thing that Redmond is branching into the hardware side of things, then, eh? Now, admittedly, the definition of malware is all encompassing here, but it makes for a very interesting ready, nevertheless.

Here is what this philosophical looking page on the website reads:

“Malware means software designed to function in ways that mistreat or harm the user. (This does not include accidental errors.) This page explains how Microsoft software is malware. Malware and nonfree software are two different issues. The difference between free software and nonfree software is in whether the users have control of the program or vice versa.

It’s not directly a question of what the program does when it runs. However, in practice nonfree software is often malware, because the developer’s awareness that the users would be powerless to fix any malicious functionalities tempts the developer to impose some.”

You be the judge here, friends and foes!

Anyway, the fine folks over at the foundation have also made a bullet point list of stuff that they consider malware. And technically, it goes after all proprietary software makers, not just Microsoft, but you get the drift.

The FSF also accuses Microsoft of maintaining a backdoor in Windows, which is used to provide security agencies with access to user computers.

Overall this is very powerful stuff from the nonprofit organization. Then again, quite in line with what we have come to expect from them in recent times. Playing on the front foot, as they say.

Thoughts on this, people? I’m all for open source software, but is proprietary and commercial software all bad? Would the world of computing be what it is now if things were completely open source? The comment box below is itching for action!

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  1. Mike Greenway / April 30, 2014 at 8:00 am /Reply

    I think they are on the right track and it needs to be carried a little further. Phones, tablets and even cars should be free. The people that currently feed their families via this evil capitalist system can just go hungry.
    ps. I nearly forgot websites (software) should be free too. meaning no profit stream from ads. You don’t need to eat either!

  2. These people are idiots. They’d have a point if they didn’t single out Microsoft. The way most Google services get onto someone’s computer or tablet is just like the way Malware gets installed. You go to download Adobe Reader, Java, or some other commonly use applications, and if you’re not paying attention you’re prompted to download Google Chrome and Google Toolbar. This is exactly how malware toolbars and software get on computers. You may go to download or open an app. And there is a little ad in there that will send you to the app store to download Chrome or some game. You don’t think Google also has backdoors. Plus, something being open source doesn’t make it free of backdoor attacks. The people in open source who know some of this software in and out probably know how to exploit it to. The open-source community just doesn’t want you to know that.

  3. I feel like we are back in the 90s and people with the goat hairs are talking again. My way is the right way and you other people are stupid. No one in the free software community have any malice ideas and when we contribute we will show you how true that is. Please stop and thinking before you drink your shabby chic coffee. We all can live together. You can reach us at (www.FoundationForABetterLifeForIndividualWhoNeedToFeelImportant.orsomething)

  4. I really don’t believe there is free lunch in this world. Who can afford to keep giving out free items without a way to make money? Even NPOs need a way to collect money to continue their charity operation.

  5. Total nonsense. I’m not a “Microsoft does no wrong” guy either. They’re just slandering a big company to increase publicity like this. Pathetic.

  6. The “free software foundation” has a socialist, left wing agenda, and is anti-capitalist at it’s core. I’ve used Linux on/off since it’s inception in 1991 and to this very day it remains an amateur hack of an OS with some of the worst GUI ever invented. I guess the motivation to create something for free isn’t worth as much as actually getting paid to do something great. Windows 8.1.1 runs on my HP Mini 110 with 1Gb of RAM. I doubt linux could do the same.

  7. Open source is great. But it certainly has not a Perfect option.
    Android for example…
    1. Easier to hack
    2. Developers earn less because it is just to easy to illegally copy apps
    3. People get scammed on the Store a lot (eg. the recent Malware Protection App scam on Google play, this app only changed a picture from infected to non-infected, And this was the top paid app for more than a week!)
    4. and much more
    Open source coders sometimes get to full of the idea of the ‘Service’ they are doing to the community that they consider anyone who charges for those services greedy and evil. Yes they do a great job, but i prefer MS Office over OpenOffice.

  8. Aaditya Menon / May 1, 2014 at 12:35 am /Reply

    F*** the FSF people . They are all idiots .

  9. Both proprietary and open source software are written by human beings. No one is perfect. Recent events show that, on both sides.

    The FSF has its own agenda. Its rant against Microsoft betrays prejudice and hatred that scuppers its case.

    The open source software model is based on the principle that you get the product for free and pay for support. So there is an incentive to ensure that support is required. Similarly the anti-virus community thrives because of the existence of viruses. Political parties get elected by offering taxpayers’ money to their own supporters. Proprietary software works on the principle that you pay in advance and are therefore entitled to some support. Printer manufacturers give away printers and charge for the cartridges. Ryan Air gives almost-free tickets but you pay for the unavoidable ‘extras’. Just different ways of getting paid.

    As with everything in life, there is no free lunch, but the secret is to make the customer think there is, just as the FSF is doing here.

    The real enemies today are those whose business objectives conflict badly with those of their members, Facebook being the prime example.

  10. I can imagine Microsoft being coerced into providing a back-door into their software, but then the same would apply to other companies. There is no way that a company would do this voluntarily because of the catastrophic damage that could be done to its share price and very survival if it were found out.

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