Why allow Microsoft to present at a linux.conf.au co-conference?

There has been some discussion on a mailing list I have subscribed to for some time as to the presence of a Microsoft employee speaking at the Open Computing in Government linux.conf.au co-conference. Whilst the linux.conf.au committee wasn’t consulted per se on the decision, we were certainly made aware that it was likely to occur. The gentleman running the Open Computing in Government co-conference is a good friend I mine, and I’m entirely comfortable with what’s occurred. Here’s why…

Note: The linux.conf.au 2005 committee is not running the Open Computing in Government co-conference. AUUG is. It’s their gig, and they make up their mind about stuff. I’m just explaining why I think they made the right decision. I should also point out that I have a possible perception of bias here as well, as I am a member of the AUUG Committee as well.

Open and informed debate

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I care a lot about open source (although I suspect I’m a little more pragmatic than a few of you). I’ve spent a lot of time using it, administering it, and I released my first open source code in July of 2000. I also care about people choosing open source because it’s actually the right decision for them. I personally believe that the world is probably more complex than any one operating system, and it would be a mistake to try and shoehorn everything into one. People can’t make an informed decision without having the information from both sides of the table being presented fairly and accurately. Having a Microsoft speaker at an event like this gives delegates a rare chance to see an actual debate on the issues at hand in real time, with people having to actually justify their stances, instead of hiding behind PR companies. I like that.

I don’t want people to chose Linux because we FUD them into the ground. I want them to chose it because we’re right.

Censorship is bad, mmmmkay?

Ummm. I can’t think of any more to say than that. I don’t have to agree with someone to agree that they have a right to express their opinion.

You have to assume that the attendees have their own brain cells

Why hold peoples hands? Is there something we’re embarrassed about that no one has mentioned to me?


Come on guys. Let’s win on a level playing field. It’s what we’ve been fighting for for so long, and we shouldn’t lose the moral high ground.

[tags: opensource conference microsoft]