FSF Launches “Windows 7 Sins” Campaign

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Microsoft has been targeted by the Free Software Foundation, which is insisting in a new “Windows 7 Sins” campaign that Redmond’s new operating system represents a threat to the privacy and security of individuals and companies

Microsoft finds itself in the crosshairs of the Free Software Foundation, which announced on 26 Aug that it will launch a “Windows 7 Sins” campaign designed to show how “proprietary software in general and Microsoft Windows in particular hurt all computer users”.

In a press release tied to the campaign, which already has a Website, the FSF suggested that Windows and proprietary software committed seven cardinal sins: invading privacy, poisoning education, locking users in, abusing standards, leveraging monopolistic behavior, enforcing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and threatening user security.

The campaign has apparently mailed letters to the heads of Fortune 500 companies, warning that the use of Windows 7 could compromise privacy and security, and asking them to adopt free software “such as the GNU/Linux operating system and the office productivity suite OpenOffice.org.”.

“Free software is more secure because you and the wider community are independently able to read the source code of and customise any program you use in your infrastructure,” the letter reads. “It saves you from relying on a secretive third party, and the public availability of free software code means that many qualified eyeballs, the security experts and researchers around the world, are continually studying and reporting on its integrity.”

In a separate statement, FSF executive director Peter Brown suggested that the “growing dependence on computers and software requires our society to re-evaluate its obsession with proprietary software that spies on citizens’ activities and limits their freedom to be in control of their computing.”

The FSF charged head-on against Microsoft at several points in the past. Back in 2006, the organisation launched a Website, BadVista.org, with the intention of displaying what it insisted were multiple user-restrictive issues with Windows Vista. The foundation has also historically pursued smaller companies such as FSMLabs over what it perceives as General Public License violations.

Microsoft plans on rolling out Windows 7 on 22 Oct. With the Redmond, Wash., company facing declining revenues thanks to moribund PC sales and a widespread economic recession, it needs the newest version of its operating system to be a substantial hit. Despite predictions by ecosystem partners such as Intel that Windows 7 will be rapidly adopted by consumers and the enterprise, some studies suggest that businesses may be slower to upgrade as they wrestle with lower IT budgets and concerns over issues such as compatibility.