It would be ridiculous for Microsoft to claim that there is a sudden resurgence of noise about Open Source because the community might be insecure as to the validity of their altruism. If a comparative media noise analysis were to be done, it is clear that the trumpet blows loudest from Microsoft’s new MD Yasmin Mahmood and her cohorts. I won’t be surprised that in a few months we will see some Microsoft effort in providing business opportunities for women, the way the political rhetorics have been slated in.

I don’t even blame her for it. After all, as a new broom you just have to learn how to sweep well or pay the price, even if you have to ride it occasionally. That’s just business, and she is just doing her job. The greater discussion here is not about Open Source vs. The Big Bad Wolf – although one would be inclined to think so in the scheme of things right now.

The ensuing discussion has been about the term Neutrality, and of course as some populist organisation called it, ‘Software Democracy’. I quite like the term, although for the life of me I cannot believe that software can ever be truly democratic, as in the way companies and businesses are run. What next? Employees vote for who will helm companies like TNB, Telekom Malaysia and God forbid, Microsoft?

It’s so easy to go on rhetorics about democracy and neutrality, until the stool (to borrow a term used by the medical profession) hits the fan. Then the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Let’s talk about democracy to the chap who is using an Opera browser on a Mac platform trying to key in his tax returns on the LHDN website. The unfortunate sap would find that he just cannot do it.

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Even politicians have touted that one of the key objectives of the BILLIONS of taxpayer funds spent on information technology is the empowerment of people and businesses to enjoy a higher quality of life. The truth in the e-hasil proggie is simply that it serves to irritate the end-user, should he be using a different platfom than mentioned.

Okay, doing your taxes should not be fun. Granted.

The fact is that e-hasil is not the only one involved in this complicity. Even MDeC is not absolved from the same. The thing that needs to be looked into is the argument that ‘Neutrality’ should be really neutral, and given the examples above, no further argument are required. The point is made.

This is not about open source. Simply put, it’s about neutrality, and the democracy touted by some people is not only hollow, it’s as fake as Windows Vista that can be bought in Low Yat for five ringgit.