Opinion: Most folks kinda like supporting the little guy up against The Man. But when the little guy sticks his shorts over his head, puts pencils up his nose and starts saying ‘wibble’, most normal people turn away in embarrassment.
And that’s surely what all right-thinking people will be doing following an extraordinary outburst from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) which is demanding that the World and its dog should boycott Windows 7 and use this afternoon’s version of Linux instead.
Until tomorrow morning, of course, when a new one will be along.
The FSF has written to the heads of what it describes as ‘the most influential non-governmental organizations’ stressing that Windows 7 is evil and that Ubuntu will save baby polar bears.
"The dependency of organizations working for social change and improvement on software owned and controlled by Microsoft is leading society into an era of digital restrictions, threatening and limiting our freedoms,” bleats FSF executive director Peter Brown.
The letter, written in green crayon, claims that heartless commercial software companies in general and Microsoft in particular is locking users in, invading privacy, abusing standards, ‘poisoning’ education, acting in an evil and monopolistic manner, threatening security, imposing DRM and causing the death of millions of baby pandas.
We may have made two or three of these up. Or have we?
“Free software... is about freedom, not price, and it is designed to give you the ability to study and improve the software for your own needs. Today, we're asking leaders in the non-profit sector to switch to the free software GNU/Linux operating system for all their desktop and computer infrastructure needs," continued Brown, adding that world peace and a cure for cancer would result if only people would stop using Microsoft Outlook as an email client.
But it isn’t just Brown who needs to up his meds. Step forward, please, FSF campaigns manager Matt Lee:
"Charities, NGOs, and other non-profit organisations that choose proprietary software are undertaking bad public policy through misinformation or a failure to see their technology choices as connected to their social missions,” frothed Lee.
“We hope to alert these decision makers to the positive contribution they can make to society by switching their organizations to free software. I hope these groups will make a public policy commitment to freedom and join a growing list of organizations who understand that sinking money and time into proprietary software is inconsistent with the core values of freedom and progress."
The FSF also sent a letter to the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies including that most open and unmonopolistic of them all, Apple, which was no doubt received with as much amusement and derision as it was when it landed in my inbox.
Come on, we all want to help the little guy, but not the wide-eyed wino staggering towards us demanding a few bucks because he has a unicorn to feed. That’s what 9mm automatics were invented for.
And just in case you think I’m making all this up, check it out here. Warning: You’ll need a sickbag.