Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on August 26, 2009
The Free Software Foundation, whose mission of supplying the world with free (as in free speech, not free beer, as founder Richard M. Stallman puts it) software sometimes looks like a crusade, has come up with a truly silly idea. FSF wants you to send it money so that it can send letters to businesses urging them not to upgrade to Windows 7. It has already sent letters to 499 of the Fortune 500 companies—it skipped Microsoft—urging them not to use Win 7. And it says for each $25 it gets in contributions, it can send 50 more letters.
FSF’s Sins of Windows 7 Web site lays out the case against Win 7, and it’s not one that is going to convince many businesses, either by its specifics or its temperament. For example, its first argument is that Windows is “poisoning education”:
Today, most children whose education involves computers are being taught to use one company’s product: Microsoft’s. Microsoft spends large sums on lobbyists and marketing to corrupt educational departments. An education using the power of computers should be a means to freedom and empowerment, not an avenue for one corporation to instill its monopoly.
FSF has done a lot of good by promoting free and open source software. The Linux operating system is probably the best known product licensed under FSF’s General Public License. Mozilla’s Firefox, while made available under an alternative license, also stems from FSF inspiration. But the organization does have a tendency to get carried away by both its own evangelism and its hatred of Microsoft.