FSM Dead! Official!

Short URL: http://fsmsh.com/2295


It is now official.FSM is dead. Send no flowers. It is time for us to pack up our keyboards, reassign our internet links to catty cable TV, give up bags and to spend our time doing something constructive like playing MS Windows Mines or Solitaire. Time for us to reformat out computers with GNU/Linux on them and pay for a operating system where we need not spend all those hours worrying about source code. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted....

It must all be true. Bill Hilf of Microsoft said it. Slashdot reported on it too! Confirmation indeed if confirmation was needed.

Mind you, the FSM was not about the "Free Software Magazine" in specific, but the entire "Free Software Movement". Hilf's main basis for making such a statement was that Linus Torvalds was employed and companies were involved in the distribution of GNU/Linux. I confess, not being the smartest guy in the world such logic I find hard to follow. Maybe I should go to a Microsoft course to have them explain it to me.

Bill Hilf made the statement to the Bangkok Post no less. I am sure Bill doesn't want to let the fact that the messenger published his announcement on a GNU/Linux server running PHP, so I will not let it. I have to bow down to the superior intelligence. The "Free Software Movement" is dead, therefore the "Free Software Magazine" will have nothing to report on.

However, all is not lost, there is one FSM still very much alive! I am back in business! Noodly appendages here I come!



admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

You had us going there for a second. And we were wondering how we managed to be the last ones to know.

Laurie Langham's picture

It's true. Go and check out his mug-shot at Edward's first link above.

Would you trust this man to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

It's the same with that weird dung-eating grin that Gates gets all over his kisser.


As they used to say about Tricky Dicky, "Would you buy a used car off this man?"

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

I did a Google search and found quite a few references to Bill Hiff of Microsoft. But Microsoft's site says Hilf and they have a picture of him (it's the same guy as in the Bangkok Post), so let's go with that. Looks like a common mistake though.


thlinux's picture
Submitted by thlinux on

My word, for a minute there I thought you were going to change your name to "Buy a License to Read Our Magazine" Magazine. Keep up the good work.

Long Live FSM!

trollzor's picture
Submitted by trollzor on


Hilf truly is a FUD master, he's even got one on patents.

So laughs in the comments on that post too.

Ivan Ivanovsky's picture

And it is real war. I almost sure that M$ (MegaDollar) will win this war. It is matter of time and of course...money. They will sues everybody and everything and nothing gonna stop them. Patents, patents and patents again. Nobody can get so many patents as M$ can. So, in some time I will have to throw my lovely Mandriva away...But I promise I will never buy (and support) M$. The only way I see is FreeBSD and the hope is still my breast...

Sorrowfully Yours

spartan2276's picture

Although I don't think the Free Software Movement will be dead anytime soon, I do belive this Hilf guy might be right on the whole desktop issue. Most applications are already running this way and more people are turning to the web to do things they use to do on their desktops. Now the thing is can the open source community keep up when most vendors refuse to support it. Also pointing to something he said in the article about developers working for big commercial firms. Regardless of how free we want this movement to be people need to pay their bills and live and although you can make money from open source, you can't keep it for yourself which is the problem people by default are greedy,selfish and there is nothing the open source community can do to change that. Those two things is the main reason why this Hilf guy makes comments like that and he's right. I'm a developer who works with Adobe products and open source products yet I find myself talking about windows and how to make sure the software is compatible with it, because unfortunately I need to pay my bills too. So my question to the Open Source community is; How can we as a community make it better for developers to make a profit from an Open Source project other than charging for tech support? Also remember this, why pay for tech support when you can get it from a forum or a chat room.

Rey Angeles
IT Consultant/Web Developer

trollzor's picture
Submitted by trollzor on

Companies want guarantees and support contracts, so they buy GNU/Linux off Redhat, Novel and Canonical. End users who want support buy off Linspire or Novel etc. People who want support for open office buy star office off Sun. This generates money for big software houses to develop software.

But many businesses leverage free and open source software sometimes but don't buy it. For example, Apache is the most popular web server in use, but nobody buys Apache. But the money Apache generates comes from the thousands and thousands of sysadmins who are employed to administer it. As a community they all contribute to each other for free, and get gainful employment because they are then able to sell their skills to companies. Other companies like the many hosting companies also make money from free and open source technologies (the LAMP stack and things like it) and pay for development.

None of the above money making removes the GPL (or whatever licence is used) from applying to the code that is written.

Hilf was engaging in absolute FUD when he tried to confuse people as to Linux being "dead", he has tried to backtrack. But this anti-Linux FUD is targeted at managers who don't know anything about free and open source (because more often than not they never did technical degrees) and they will then be hostile to this "linux thing" when it is proposed to be adopted in the workplace.

Hilf though it would slip by, but he was caught out. And his clarification on his website is extremely weak. I wonder what his kids will think when they read back at some point to find out who their dad was... This is a combination of a guy who is paid to spread disinformation and an incredibly uncritical journalist.

When you say "can the open source community keep up when most vendors refuse to support it" that's patently not the case. Free and open source software makes money in business through support, but support is much much bigger and makes it's face know in many more ways in a plethora of companies. The fact that people are involved making money doesn't make the software any less free or open source, nor does it somehow implode the community aspects.

spartan2276's picture

Yes I'd I have to say I agree with your response, but what I meant by vendors refusing to support it. I meant it in terms of hardware and software, meaning why can't I use my Plextor Px=716UF on Ubuntu 7.04 because there are no drivers, the company (plextor) does not have any linux drivers. This is just one example also why can't I play any games on Ubuntu just like I would on Windows. That is my point, that is the reason why most people are affraid to make the jump. Another example; I told my boss about Ubuntu (desktop/server) so that we can switch from our windows setup (server 200/Xp pro desktops) and I was sent packing. So after I gave him tons of articles documentation etc, next day he went and bought MS Office 2007 after I clearly showed him OpenOffice. So that right there is what I'm talking about unless vendors decide to make the software that is available for windows compatible with Linux. We won't stand a chance and yes by boss is the average user.

IT Consultant/Web Developer

trollzor's picture
Submitted by trollzor on

This is why I think free software as a philosophy is not given enough credit, as they did a lot of work before everything was operational and were working on things before there was an office package and games etc.

The games issue is a difficult one, as MS has locked up much of the market with directx stuff. One of my greatest pains moving to linux was leaving counter-strike behind. Nevertheless, there are lots of cool things out there, enemy territory, true combat: elite, savage: the battle for newerth and all the ID software stuff. Plus there will come a time when WINE can do all the 1995-2006 games better than XP and certainly Vista.

The Dell-Ubuntu deal should be the beginning of the end for hardware issues, almost everything is supported these days.

Anyway if it suits you, use it - it suits me.

Author information

Edward Macnaghten's picture


Edward Macnaghten has been a professional programmer, analyst and consultant for in excess of 20 years. His experiences include manufacturing commercially based software for a number of industries in a variety of different technical environments in Europe, Asia and the USA. He is currently running an IT consultancy specialising in free software solutions based in Cambridge UK. He also maintains his own web site.