FSF: Bad, Bad Vista!

You had to know that the Free Software Foundation would not take Microsoft's Vista launch laying down. And it's not.

Friday, the Boston, Mass.based FSF launched a Web site to promote free-and-open alternatives to the new Microsoft Windows client OS. The FSF guys characterize Vista as an "upsell disguised as an upgrade" and also a "Trojan Horse to smuggle in even more restrictions," according to a statement by FSF program manager John Sullivan.

The goal is to promote free and open source alternatives to Vista and the rest of Microsoft's stack.

Another highlight in the release: "Whilst Microsoft embarks upon its largest ever product launch, its marketing dollars will be spent in an effort to fool the media and user community about the goals of Vista," says Peter Brown, executive director of the FSF.

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Other than the obvious questionwhen was the last time you saw "whilst" in a press release?FSF has some points in terms of Vista's usage rights. Microsoft seems bound and determined to treat its customers like criminals and that could be some wicked bad mojo.

On the other hand, many view FSF types as a lunatic fringe and would prefer to deal with an adjudged monopolist. In the words of one IT poobah, "at least with Microsoft you know their motives are rational--money and power. With these other guys, who knows?"

Fun FSF fact: If you "inspire" three people to become associate members you can get a personalized greeting recorded by FSF president Richard Stallman or general counsel Eben Moglen for your answering machine, voice mail or home page.

This is indeed tempting.

Note: This post was updated to correct the location of FSF's headquarters. It is in Boston, not Cambridge, as erroneously reported by moi.

Any other quarrels, quibbles, tidbits? Send them to me at [email protected]