Microsoft's Halloween 6.66 Document

Fake News written by James Baughn on Sunday, October 31, 1999

from the will-paramount-sue-us-for-trademark-dilution? dept.

While Eric S. Raymond is busy wearing his Obi-Wan Kenobi costume at a Halloween party, we here at Humorix have been able to acquire a leaked interal Microsoft memorandum which we've dubbed "Halloween 6.66". Our contact within Microsoft, Mr. John Birckendorf, sent us this document in exchange for 1,000 shares of Humorix stock. As you shall see, the contents of this document are downright scary and shouldn't be viewed by those easily frightened by corporate doublespeak.

An Ad-Hoc Investigation Of The Similarities Between "Open Source" and "Borg" Paradigms

F. U. Draker
Vice Chairman of Microsoft's Linux Focus Group

October 12, 1999
Microsoft Confidential


For years the unenlightened anti-Microsoft masses have compared Microsoft to the Borg collective ala "Star Trek". In this memo I intend to demonstrate that the so-called "Open Source Community" is actually far more Borg-like than Microsoft ever could be.

I submit as evidence the following seven items:

Item 1. Instant communications

Each Borg individual is wired into the network of the whole collective. Likewise, each Open Source individual (hereafter referred to as "The Enemy") is wired into the network of the whole collective: in this case, the Internet, or more precisely, Slashdot. The Enemy is rarely out of IP-tone of the Slashdot collective consciousness, much in the same way a Borg is permanently connected to every other Borg.

Item 2. Advocacy

The Enemy's reaction to our "Linux Myths" page is a clear indication of Borg-like behavior. The headline appeared on Slashdot, and as a result, was immediately broadcasted to thousands of Enemy hackers. Within hours, dozens of rebuttals propagated across the Net. Many of these advocacy pieces contained the same mantra: "Microsoft sucks, Linux rules", which rougly translates to "I am Linux of Borg. Prepare to be copylefted. Resistance is futile."

Item 3. Assimilation

Everyone jokes about how Microsoft "assimilates" rival companies by acquiring them. However, our acquisitions are designed to spur innovation, not assimilation. This is not true of the Enemy. The Cult of Open Source is spreading rapidly; each day an increasing number of people and companies are assimilated into the collective.

Netscape, Corel, Apple, and Sun have all embraced the Enemy ideology to varying degrees -- in other words, they've been assimilated. And yet, at the same time, there is little innovation: the biggest projects in the Enemy collective are to produce GUIs and office applications duplicating what Microsoft has already done.

Item 4. Decentralization

The Borg and the Enemy do not have a single point of failure. Killing a single Borg or destroying a single Borg ship does little to harm the overall collective. The same holds of the Enemy. Even if our attempts to hire Alan Cox or to buy the domain were successful, the Open Source combine would continue unabated.

As a result, previously discussed strategies (acquiring Red Hat, bribing the Federal government to deport Linus Torvalds back to Finland, filing a lawsuit against Slashdot, etc.) will be ineffective against the whole. Any offensive measure against the Enemy must be swift and damaging to the Collective as a whole.

Item 5. Conformity

The Enemy leaders pontificate about "freedom", but that's just propaganda. Open Source licenses, particularly the GPL, are all about conformity. The essence of the GPL is: "If you use any Free Software in your own programs, your work is automatically assimilated into the Collective. You must conform to our rules, or else you can't play." Moreover, Richard Stallman's "Use GNU/Linux!" crusade shows that this Borg-like conformity even applies to trivial things like nomenclature.

Slashdot and Usenet discussions are conformist as well. Bucking the party line in any way (criticizing Linux, praising Microsoft, attacking core Open Source ideologies, etc.) instantly results in flamage and negative moderation. Those who do not conform are quickly labelled as "Trolls" and "Flamebaiters" and are ostracized from the Collective.

Item 6. Identification

Two numbers are used to identify individual Borg: Five Of Ten, for instance. Likewise, a set of two numbers are often used to identify Enemy hackers: their IP number, and their Slashdot user account number. This similarity is not coincidental.

Item 7. Ultimate goal

The Enemy plots World Domination & Assimilation, while the Borg plots Universal Domination & Assimilation.


As demonstrated by the above seven items, the Open Source community is far more Borg-like than Microsoft. I suggest that Microsoft institute new training requirements: every employee must watch key episodes of "Star Trek" to learn more about the Borg. This knowledge will be crucial in understanding, and eventually defeating, the Enemy.

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