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Hoax — .net Jury Claims Microsoft/Siemens in Secret Joint Venture to Create Linux Distribution

By Dave Whitinger,
Linux Today

Update: Heise has exposed
this
as a hoax.

A press release, allegedly from the .net jury which earlier
this year awarded the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica to Linus
Torvalds, claims discovery of secret strategy by corporate giants
to control the open-source movement.

“Their joint venture startup will most probably become one of
the leading Linux distributors, directly attacking Red Hat and
SUSE,” claims the press release.

In a press statement allegedly from members of the .net jury of
this year’s Prix Ars
Electronica
forwarded to Linux Today, we read that next year’s
Ars Electronica Festival will be entitled “Open Source”. This has
been unofficially agreed upon by the direction of Ars Electronica
and its sponsors (Siemens, Microsoft, Oracle, and Hewlett-Packard,
among others.

The interesting part of the press release discusses a strategy
whereby Microsoft, Siemens, Oracle, and HP are working on a Linux
distribution joint venture.

Quoted from the press release:

Because we have also just learned that the
above-mentioned IT-companies are involved in a linux
distribution joint venture
and a strategic alliance. Their
joint venture startup will most probably become one of the leading
linux distributors, directly attacking Red Hat and SUSE.

This is the classic oligopolistic strategy. They cannot buy
linux, nevertheless, they will take control over the distibution of
the competitor.

[…]

But the information about the secret linux distribution joint
venture between Microsoft and Siemens in combination with next
years topic made us alert.

Our conclusion: the industry has strongly lobbied and put
pressure on at least one jury member to award “linux”. We now have
to interpret this in persepective of next years ars topic. They
pushed the topic. The idea is to use the art and science community
to soft launch their linux activities and control open source
strategies. They do understand that open source has evolved into a
stronger development strategy and they have to jump that train
early enough, in order to avoid another “internet” desaster.

So as artists writers and scientists we are used as lab-rats and
cheap alternative researchers. This is NOT what artists need and it
is certainly not what Ars Electronica should be aiming at.

You may view the original
E-Mail
that contains this press release. We have tried
unsuccessfully to telephone the contacts mentioned, but will
continue to attempt contact until we are able to reach someone with
additional answers.

Expect a followup story when more information becomes
available.

Related Story:
Linux Torvalds
Wins Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica
(May 29, 1999)