'Christmas' Document Leaked

Fake News written by James Baughn on Sunday, November 8, 1998

from the get-the-bucket-another-leak-has-sprung dept.

Humorix has obtained a leaked memo written by an anonymous Red Hat employee. This document, titled "Closed Source Software: A (New?) Development Methodology", reports the author's findings about the up and coming threat from a new software development method innovated by Microsoft Corp. (a start-up company located in Redmond, WA and producer of such software applications as "Edlin", "Bob", "WordPad", and "Paintbrush").

The 'Christmas' Document is too lengthy to be reprinted here. Instead, we present some excerpts and quotes of particular interest. It's helpful to know that "CSS" is the author's abbreviation for "Closed Source Software".

"CSS poses a direct, short-term to Linux and Red Hat, particularly in server space. Additionally, the intrinsic anti-competitive nature and hype / marketing benefits in CSS are attributes that are not replicable with our current licensing model and therefore present a long term developer mindshare threat."

"Recent case studies (desktop operating systems and office productivity software) provide very dramatic evidence ... that near-commercial quality can be achieved / exceeded by CSS projects.

"Windows, Office, and other CSS products are making a progressively more credible argument that CSS software is almost as feature-rich as non-commercial alternatives. The desktop provides an ideal, high-visibility showcase for the CSS world."

"CSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server applications because of the utility of highly proprietary, complicated protocols. By ignoring or replacing these protocols with open standards, we can deny CSS projects entry into the market."

"The ability of the CSS process to collect and harness the collective IQ of thousands of employees by dangling stock options in their faces is simply amazing. More importantly, CSS evangelization scales with the price of Microsoft's stock much faster than our own evangelization efforts appear to scale.

"Paintbrush is a CSS project to create an Adobe Photoshop clone for Windows desktop machines. Feature-wise, however, the current version of Paintbrush is more akin to the Gimp (Version 0.001)."

Response to the Christmas Document has been negative. Several Visual Basic (Microsoft's new proprietary programming language) programmers were quite disturbed by the contents of the memo. "They want to commoditize protocols and utilize open standards? That's just wrong! Any idiot can tell you that 'security through obscurity' is the only way to go."

Several industry pundits and observers, including Jesse Burst and Lewis A. Meddler, Esq., shared similar views. Burst wrote in today's AnchorTable column, "A revolution is about to take place... those snot-nosed teenage hackers are about to be run over by progress. It's about time a company tried to make money from software instead of allowing hackers to flood the Net with free stuff." L.A.M.E. wrote, "Security in open source software is inherently lacking. Maybe with the advent of closed source software we can bring an end to all of the recent cracker attacks and break-ins. The fact that open source ssh was exploited to gain access to rootshell.com recently is proof of my contention: 'security through obscurity' rules!"

Erin S. Rameblatt, closed source advocate and author of the essay "The Orderly Cathedral and the Anarchist Bazaar", commented, "A paradigm shift in how software is written is taking place. The immoral ego-gratification and altruism inherent in open source software projects is coming to an end." Ricky M. Slawman, founder of the Proprietary Software Foundation and the GIM Project (GIM Is Microsoft), echoed a similar feeling. "GIM/Windows will achieve world domination against the unethical hordes of free software developers. Proprietary software for all! Resistance is futile..."

Microsoft and Red Hat were unavailable for comment. Red Hat, however, has acknowledged the authenticity of the document, adding, "We haven't read through the leaked memo word for word, but we think it is genuine."

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