Halloween documents

From Academic Kids

The Halloween documents is the name used outside Microsoft for a series of confidential memoranda on potential strategies related to Open source software and to Linux in particular. The first Halloween document, requested by senior vice-president James Allchin for the attention of senior vice-president Paul Maritz and written by Microsoft engineer Vinod Valloppillil, was leaked to Eric S. Raymond in October 1998, who immediately published an annotated version on his web site. The document contained references to a second memorandum specifically dealing with Linux, and that document, authored by Vinod Valloppillil and Josh Cohen at Microsoft, was also obtained, annotated and published by Raymond. Microsoft has since admitted the documents' authenticity.

Marked "Microsoft confidential", they identify open source software (OSS), and in particular the Linux operating system as a major threat to Microsoft's dominance of the software industry, and suggest ways in which Microsoft could disrupt the progress of open source software.

These documents acknowledged that Open Source/Free Software/Linux products were technologically competitive with some of Microsoft's products, and set out a strategy to combat them. The documents were embarrassing largely because they contradicted Microsoft's public pronouncements on the subject.

Since the publication of the two original documents, a number of additional Microsoft memoranda on related topics have also been leaked and published (e.g. Halloween VII). Together, these documents demonstrate Microsoft's continued awareness that its open-source competitors are a potential threat to its livelihood in the software industry.

Quotes from the Halloween documents:

  • "Recent case studies (the Internet) provide very dramatic evidence ... that commercial quality can be achieved / exceeded by OSS projects."
  • (Open source software) "is long-term credible ... FUD tactics can not be used to combat it."
  • "Linux can win as long as services / protocols are commodities."
  • (Microsoft should) "De-commoditize protocols & applications"

The last strategy has been described by others as "Embrace, extend and extinguish".

The documents

Note that only some of the documents publicized as "Halloween Documents" are leaked internal memos (specifically documents I, II, VII, VIII, and X). One is a public statement (document III). The others are responses by Eric Raymond to various columns, news articles, and other works.

  • "Open Source Software: A (New?) Development Methodology", named The Halloween Document by Raymond. A memo written by Microsoft's Vinod Valloppillil. Describes the benefits of open-source software. and proposes ways for Microsoft to combat it.
  • "Linux OS Competitive Analysis: The Next Java VM?", aka Halloween Document II. Another memo by Valloppillil. Describes the basic architecture of the Linux system, its relation to Unix and Windows NT, and its growth in popularity.
  • Untitled statement from Aurelia van den Berg, the Press and Public Relations manager of Microsoft Netherlands, aka Halloween Document III. A brief response to the release of the above documents. Later incorporated into an official response ( from Microsoft.
  • Halloween Document IV: When Software Things Were Rotten. A parody by Raymond of the two original Halloween documents and of a quote by Microsoft's Ed Muth comparing open source developers to Robin Hood.
  • Halloween Document V: The FUD Begins. A response by Raymond to Ed Muth's allegations that Linux has a "weak value proposition".
  • Halloween Document VI: The Fatal Anniversary. A response by Raymond to studies authored by the Gartner Group for Microsoft.
  • "Research E-Bulletin: Attitudes Towards Shared Source and Open Source Research Study", aka Halloween VII: Survey Says. A summary of the results of a survey of developers and IT managers, describing reactions to Microsoft's Shared Source program. Describes low total cost of ownership as a major reason for Linux adoption.
  • "OSS and Goverment", aka Halloween VIII: Doing the Damage-Control Dance. A memo from Group Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Orlando Ayala, to general managers of Microsoft regional subsidiaries. Describes the availability of support from Microsoft corporate for regional sales personnel facing competition from Linux in government markets.
  • Halloween IX: It Ain't Necessarily SCO. A rebuttal by Rob Landley and Raymond to the allegations made by The SCO Group in its initial filings in SCO v. IBM. The title of this document is a parody of the song It Ain't Necessarily So, which appears in George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess.
  • An e-mail from consultant Mike Anderer to SCO's Chris Sontag, also known as Halloween X: Follow The Money. Among other points, describes Microsoft's channeling of US$ 86 million to SCO.
  • Halloween XI: Get The FUD. A response by Raymond to Microsoft's "Get The Facts" negative-marketing campaign against Linux.

External links

pl:Dokumenty Halloween


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