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The Big Lie

Week of June 29, 2001

The Big Lie is a term originally coined to describe a characteristic form of Nazi (and later Soviet) propaganda. The essence of the Big Lie propaganda technique is that if you repeat the lie often enough over enough channels, people will soak it up through their pores and come to believe it as something 'everybody knows'.

In the last three months, Jim Allchin and Craig Mundie and Steve Ballmer have launched a classic Big Lie campaign against open source. They have described it as 'un-American', 'a destroyer', and 'a cancer'. They have deliberately confused the GPL with non-infectious open-source licenses, and they have deliberately confused active combination of code with passive aggregation of data. They have lied, and lied, and lied again.

Why? Because the most truthful thing Ballmer admitted in that interview is that yeah, Linux *is* a threat to Microsoft. It threatens to break Microsoft's 91% monopoly on personal-computer operating systems. It threatens to free consumers from proprietary lock-in, and to deliver better software and more choices at lower cost.

Two years ago, the Halloween Documents observed that in order to defeat the threat of open source, Microsoft must attack 'a process, not a company'. That is exactly what Allchin and Mundie and Ballmer are doing now, attacking with a Big Lie software they know they cannot match in reliability, sophistication, security, and overall cost/benefit ratio.

In the open-source community, we have a favorite quote from Mohandas Gandhi: 'First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.'

Evidently, we're getting close to winning.

By Eric Raymond. See the original article here.

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