Windows7sins Launches

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Yesterday I posted about the launch announcement from the FSF for the Windows7sins campaign. The site is up now, and it’s underwhelming even with the low expectations I’ve had.



Firstly, the homepage greets you with a picture of an OLPC XO-1. With Negreponte saying that Windows is key to the OLPC’s success and that the Sugar interface was a mistake, is that really such a good idea? Perhaps they chose it because it originally shipped as a complete hardware platform, or perhaps with its strong identity with education. I guess I could let it slide.



I don’t know if this is how most people would see it, but for me personally, I’d get horribly annoyed if Microsoft, Apple, Symantec, Google, etc started spamming me telling me why I should be using their software with letters in the post. I can imagine that a corporate that receives a letter saying something about free software, they’d probably just throw it in the bin.

Perhaps I’m a bit naïve and I just don’t get it? This is not how I learned to promote free software, and quite frankly, I think the Free Software Foundation could use some lessons in how to promote Free Software properly. It’s not that I want to criticise them or focus on the negative, but Free Software has so much to offer and as I said yesterday, I think that focussing on what it can do is much better than focussing on what the competitors can’t do. I’ll leave it at that.

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17 Responses to “Windows7sins Launches”

  1. nixternal Says:

    FYI: Microsoft does spam. I know of someone who works for a company that is contracted by them to send out emails about purchasing Office, Windows, and others at “low low prices”.

    But I am with you, I hate spam and don’t think it is a great idea either, but who knows. There could be that slim chance they hit the dumb IT dude :p

  2. Iain Farrell Says:

    It seems like an odd way to promote free software to me too. By talking about Windows 7 even in a negative way aren’t you just generating more press? I’m not entirely convinced it’s an approach that will win people over.

  3. CoolGoose Says:

    Seriously I thought it was a lame ass site made by a over zellous fellow Linux user, but FSF ?

    Jesus this is bloody lame.

    If you really want to promote Linux (or free software in general), do it the right way, and actually spread what Linux cand do, do videos, screencasts, feature comparisons, not a lame ass site that says Microsoft is the devil bla bla bla

  4. jonathan Says:

    I’ve e-mailed Peter Brown at the FSF for some feedback. I’ll paste his response as a comment here if I receive any.

  5. ulrik Says:

    I’m with you. The branding of the site (yellow and plain) combined with the “ad boxes” on left (and right on place, to make the text column really narrow on my screen) tells me this is a really cheap website. You learn by reflex not to read something looking like an advertisement, but actually reading it, the boxes on the side *are* second-grade content with blunt summaries or pointers about completele other (FSF) things.

  6. regala Says:

    seems like we all agree: FSF pooped another crappy “campaign banner”. Don’t know how they could imagine being this remote from reality: ugly website (the flashy yellow is quite a reminder of HTML 2.0 websites back in the 90’s), focusing on the wrong things (trashing something instead of promoting their stuff, free software), and most of all, very poor and bad taste in puns “Windows7sins” is ridiculous if not completely lame…we’re immersed in technology and still relying on mixing religion-reminding stuff is gross. The subject is very important and this kinda crap is what is constantly driving away some serious corporations or at least make them uncomfortable with some of the community.
    They’re hampering on what they fight for, by their very existence and stupidity.

  7. Matt W Says:

    I’m in full agreement. Bashing Windows is not the way to go – people who like something just get defensive if you bash their favourite toy, and won’t listen to you. We, and the FSF, need to be out there showing people why our way is better. If we can’t… then it probably isn’t.

  8. Stefan Says:

    FSF is going in wrong direction.

    Somebody should tell them that this is not the way to do it.

  9. Martin Gräßlin Says:

    I agree that the FSF didn’t do a great job on that site. I read it and thought: it’s not better than the FUD coming from the Microsoft side. Especially the letter they sent to the companies is realy bad: they do not even know who to write Even more sadly it’s written in the correct way once, when quoting Microsoft.

    I want to blog about the “FUD” by the FSF today as well, but it will be in German ;-)

  10. Jo Shields Says:

    Sigh. Yet again, a “pro” versus “anti” split. What does being anti-Windows really achieve? Telling someone not to do something is guaranteed to make them want to do it more.

    Frankly, I think Windows 7 should be seen as an opportunity to see what the “competition” is up to, nick every nice feature worth having, and evangelize about the places where we’re simply better.

    “They smell like poop” is going to get a lot less support than “we smell of roses”, other than from the naturally negative elements of the community

  11. jonathan Says:

    @Jo That’s how I feel about it as well. I installed Windows 7 a few weeks back to check it out, and while it was horribly slow, there were some nice things about it, I liked all the artwork that they include with it. Even though I don’t like Microsoft, there’s a lot we can learn from them and now and again even they get something right.

  12. Ron Says:

    This will do the exact opposite of what they are trying to accomplish… Focusing on the negative does not work. In marketing, you either move people TOWARD pleasure or AWAY from pain. “Take this pill to feel better” = away from pain. “This car has curves and handles the road like a dream” = towards pleasure.

    We need to show the POSITIVE side of GNU/Linux – never even mentioning the negative side of Windows. Simply show what GNU/Linux CAN do. Maximize the positive, minimize the negative.

    Once again, the GNU/Linux community gets sent back 4 steps and people will not only think we’re a bunch of dorks living in our parent’s basements, but that we’re angry at “The Man”.

    Way to go.

    I wrote an article on exactly why you cannot compare Windows to GNU/Linux – and it’s not for the reasons you’d probably thing. Rather than repeat the article here, email me if you are interested in it and I will send it to you.

    My e-mail address is: ron [at] roadie [dot] net

    If anyone else wants a copy, hit me up as well.

    Remember, software and minds have two things in common: they are both more functional when open.

  13. Wayne Koorts Says:

    I’m with you on this one JC. I think they’ve embarassed themselves with this one. Also, the campaign seems to be against Microsoft and corporations, not proprietary software. The 7 points they give on the main page say it all.

  14. James Says:

    Of all the things to harp on, they’re complaining about having slightly different feature sets for different prices? Um, yeah. That’s totally valid when you’re actually selling a product. Sure, it’s artificial, but it makes economic sense. I wonder how many people at the FSF have used Celerons…

  15. Michael Schurter (schmichael) Says:

    Ugh that site is such a disgrace. I sent the follow e-mail to the windows7sins mailing-list yesterday and have yet to get a response. (Sorry to paste it here, their mailing list archives appear to be broken.)

    “Microsoft regularly attempts to force updates on its users, by removing
    support for older versions of Windows and Office…”

    Every software distributor whether its Microsoft, Debian, or the FSF
    ceases supporting older versions of the software they distribute at some

    Please remove item #4 and completely re-brand your negative ad campaign.

    Or preferably: take the whole thing down and focus on positive ad
    campaigns alone.


  16. Joe Says:

    I will be the first to say that negative marketing can be very effective. The FSF needs to work on their web design skills, but the general premise of this site will work well.

  17. James Says:

    How on earth is the premise of that site going to work well? Most of their claims are blatant corruptions of the truth. The FSF is propagating FUD as bad as that IE-biased browser comparison chart that everyone was complaining about a while back.

    Plus, Windows 7 has more positive press than any recent Microsoft product. A page like this won’t convince anyone who knows what they’re talking about and makes the FSF look highly slimy.

    Not classy. Not cool. Not a good ad campaign.

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