Talking with Microsoft

Last week I went to Tudela for a talk as part of the Semana del Software Libre organized by Fundación Dédalo. There were a few talks the previous days, which I missed them all, but on Thursday evening, it was the last debate, with 2 guys from the Microsoft camp (José Parada, Microsoft employee, and Chema Alonso, from Informatica64 and who works closely with Microsoft Spain) and 2 guys from the Free Software camp (Sergio Montoro from Knowgate, and myself). Each speaker had 20 minutes for their presentation and then 1.5 hours of debate.

José Parada talked about the new? concern about security in Microsoft, and all the things they’ve been doing for making their systems more secure. He mentioned User Account Protection and the automatic tools they use for finding exploits (not like in Free Software, where they use nothing).
Then Sergio Montoro talked about the businesses that can be made with Free Software, and then I talked about what FS represents for all users, developers, companies, public administrations (based on a presentation by the great Jesús Barahona). I tried to focus the debate on the real differences between propietary and free software, that is, the social, technological and business advantages. But then, Chema Alonso used the number of vulnerabilities argument to demonstrate that Free Software is more insecure than propietary software :( Not sure if he succeeded in convincing the few people that attended the debate, since his talk was really funny and might have catched better the attention of the attendees than Sergio’s or mine. But, as I told him after the debate, it is a bit unfortunate to see the same argument over and over.

It was a pity I hadn’t prepared the “Microsoft is insecure” part of my talk, since that would have served as a good counter-argument. I didn’t think that was the argument to defend (attacking your enemy might be seen from the outside as a lack of arguments on your part) though.

I also was given a Microsoft t-shirt, which I was planning to wear in all FS-related events, but unfortunately I left it in Tudela :) I’ve been also invited by Chema to visit the Microsoft offices in Madrid, on a guided tour. It might be an interesting thing, given that Chema was asking if Microsoft could create its own Linux distro (he seemed to not get the point, since he had doubts about it), so maybe I could spy a bit about their MS Linux plans :)

All in all, a good debate, and a pity I had to run back home after the talk, so missed the pintxos (tapas) in Tudela.

3 Responses to “Talking with Microsoft”

  1. Marcos says:

    You felt into their trap and what’s worse went there unprepared to fight the viciousness of their attacks as good humored as they appeared to be.

    What did you expect? A fair and balanced view of Linux from Microsoft? Why even engage these assholes when you know that all they will do is spread lies, innuendo and uncertainty about Linux.

    Don’t visit their offices. Just tell them to fuck off and continue improving free software.

    Fuck them.

  2. Mike Hearn says:

    Coverity are allowing the free software community to use their static analysis tools which are just as good as the MS specific ones developed by MSR

  3. Chema Alonso says:

    Hi all,

    well, in fact, my opinion isn’t exactly that FS is more insecure that PS. My opinion is that Microsoft has improved his Security Team and also that SDL is running ok. I think that Open Source is more easy to hack (Mitmik said it too and a lot of studies of security researches), and things on that way.

    I don’t like wars, i love talking about tech. I don`t want to say lies Marcos. It just my opinion.

    Best regards for all!

    PS: SFME