Microsoft FUD Campaign Exposed

Fake News written by James Baughn on Sunday, September 13, 1998

from the bill-admits-linux-exists dept.

Sources have provided Humorix with internal Microsoft e-mails about an upcoming anti-Linux FUD campaign. The campaign, code-named "Penguin Killer", involves spreading rumors, lies, and misconceptions about Linux to the public while continuing the Windows NT 5.0 vaporware strategy. One particularly revealing e-mail obtained by Humorix is quoted below.

Subject: Operation Penguin Killer
From: Eric Dobinzky <dobinzky@microsoft.com>
To: Bill Gates <realbill@microsoft.com>
CC: Steve Ballmer <steveb@microsoft.com>
Date: August 15, 1998

Emperor Gates --

The anti-Linux FUD campaign "Operation Penguin Killer" is underway. Ballmer has already been briefed on his upcoming duties. In summary, here is the revised schedule of events:

1. Early September - Ballmer mentions Linux and open source software at upcoming publishers' conference. He will say that "open source is not beneficial to consumers".

2. Mid-September - Distribute press release about how Microsoft is "considering" releasing "some" source code to NT to the public. Be vague about when, how, or how much. Employ standard vaporware strategy - MS has no intention of releasing the most valuable intellectual property in the world (Windows) to the public.

3. Late September - Begin "Astroturf 2" program. Spread made-up Linux horror stories. Harp on "lack of support" and "security through obscurity" FUD.

4. Early October - Secretly sponsor "Linux Boycott Campaign". Begin rallying Microsoft "partners" and "friends" against the evil OS (Linux) that could harm their bottom line. Focus on Stallman, Stallman, Stallman! Tell them Linux will suck up all their profits.

5. October/November - Keep low profile during vigilante DOJ anti-trust trial; continue to influence media (especially Ziff-Davis and our friend Jesse Berst) about how crappy Linux is, also lie about NT5 release date (which is really late 2002, but no one has to know that).

6. November - Infilitrate Linux/open source advocate's mailing lists, forums (i.e. Slashdot.org), meeting places, etc. Spread rumors about serious Linux security holes and bugs. Resurrect "Linux Standards Association"; attempt to split Linux/OSS community over trivial matters (i.e. Rehash GNOME vs. KDE controversy).

7. December - Slowly begin to acquire companies and technologies related to Unix/Linux and open source. O'Reilly, Caldera, Transmeta, Informix, etc. are all targets. Try to keep low profile during acquisitions.

8. January - Begin making "calls" to ISPs who host Linux-related sites. If can't intimidate, sue. If can't sue, acquire.

9. February - Announce interrim NT 4.5 release (codenamed "East St. Louis"); hype, hype, hype it! (NT 4.5 is the same as 4.0 except for a few added service packs) Launch largest ad campaign since Win95. Leave no chance for media to mention Linux at all.

10. Rest of 1999 - Continue above steps, intensify and redouble efforts as needed.

This plan can't fail. Remember that a similar plan (code-named "Big Blue Sadness") destroyed OS/2. While Penguin Killer could be speeded up, it's best to keep a low profile during the DOJ trial. After all, our party line is that Windows isn't a monopoly because of alternatives like Linux (yeah, right!). After the trial is over we'll attack Linux without hesitation. This is going to be fun, Bill!

----

Eric Dobinzky
Vice President of Marketing

P.S. The microsoft.com e-mail servers seem to be acting up again. If you can't get through to me, try calling me at [withheld].

Microsoft and Linus Torvalds were unavailable for comment at press time.

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