[Linux-aus] [Fwd: "Why not use some of Microsoft's money" to sponsor the Free software]

Arjen Lentz arjen at mysql.com
Fri Jun 18 06:24:02 UTC 2004

This is pretty hilarious, and an excellent idea (when done in style):

Original article at:

Article text:

If you were in Skopje (Macedonia) on the 3th of June 2004, and you were
somehow part of the small but growing IT sector, then there was probably
one place to be at. It was the opening of the second Microsoft
conference "Vizija" (Vision), a keynote session that was supposed to
present the Macedonian version of WindowsXP and commercial software as a
business model under the title "Free is only free if your time is worth
nothing". Funny enough the tickets for this session of "Vizija" were
free - as in beer that is.

Microsoft Macedonia spent a lot of money to inform all citizens of our
small country (population a bit over 2 milion, 4% of which have access
to the Internet) that the conference was in place once again. As we
(Free Software Macedonia) were pondering some future activities,
following a successfull InstallFest, we came up with an idea. Why not
use some of Microsoft's money, or better yet some of our money that the
Government decided to give to Microsoft after signing a strategic
partnership agreement few months ago, for promotion of free - as in
speech - software?

The idea was simple. Since we could not in any way rent a venue as big
as Universal Hall and gather more than 50 people we decided to use
Microsoft's activities for a setup of our operation. People will be
coming here for software issues anyway, so why not give them some free
software? They will be surprised and curious, and they might find the
software usefull. That was the idea.

So, we rallied the troops: 10 CD burners shared 1000 CDs (500 for
Knoppix 500 for The OpenCD), and in two days we had the discs. Packaging
followed. The CDs were enclosed with leaflets with some basic
information about the software and about our organization. A stamp
saying "It's already legal" (as an answer to Microsoft's campaign
"Attention, make it legal") was applied to the CD covers. We spent the
whole budget of the organization for this event - a total of $250, which
is a considerable amount of money for the likes of Macedonia. The CDs
were ready, and off we went.

The CDs were given to IT people, mostly managers, who, because of the
rain, were rushing towards the entrance of Universal Hall. Still, some
of them stopped and asked questions like: What's this? Is this Mandrake?
I would like to try it, I've heard it's good. Estimations say that there
were around 600 people who decided to use their free ticket for the
conference. Only 15 to 20 refused to take a CD. In most cases, their
reaction was: Hey, we already have Microsoft's software. And it's legal

We did our job to the best of our abilities. In a time frame not bigger
than 30 minutes we gave away nearly 900 CDs with free software. We
decided to call this operation "Free Software Flood". The rain had its
doing in the title, but the more important thing was the fact that we
were flooding Microsoft's conference with free software.

We hope that our efforts will not be in vain. We hope that most of the
people that took the discs will have time and interest to try and see
what's on them, and that they will learn useful stuff such as that there
are other options besides paying big amounts of money for restrictive
software licenses.

Until the next Microsoft conference, may the source be with you. ;-)

Our friends the organizers of the Software Freedom Day
(http://www.softwarefreedomday.org/) organized a similar flood-event in
Their disks looked way better than ours. :)

[end of article]

Arjen Lentz, Technical Writer, Trainer
Brisbane, QLD Australia
MySQL AB, www.mysql.com

Sydney 18 Oct 2004 (4.5 days): DBMS Introduction Training
Training,Support,Licenses,T-shirts @ https://order.mysql.com/?ref=marl

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