Google, IBM, Red Hat, Sun and the Digistan Connection

by: Dennis Byron

Another anti-Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) front group has emerged in favor of “free and open standards,” hyping what it calls the Hague Declaration and making some absurd connection to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The propagandists, partially funded by publicly traded companies, have a little trouble describing what that term “free and open standards” means (or even using it consistently), but the group has no trouble indicating its political stripes. Unbelievably it calls itself Digistan, apparently to identify with the fascist terrorists based in countries and regions using the Farsi-based suffix “stan.”

All of these front groups percolate around about two dozen individuals, mostly European. The vast left-wing conspiracy of George Soros works around the edges of their mostly web-site-only organizations. But there is a profit motive. Some seem to exist to raise money from public companies in order to hold conferences at excellent venues. Others run consulting companies to advise governments how to follow “free and open standards” or law firms that write licenses that follow “free and open standards.”

If only these lefties could be time warped back to the last century so that they could ‘fight the right’ in Spain (or sit in the Les Deux Maggot and talk about fighting the right in Spain). Then the rest of us could avoid having our tax dollars wasted and our share values diminished.

Digistan claims it has only individuals, not businesses or organizations, as members. But looking at the founders’ affiliations illustrates that the group goes right back to the same Microsoft-competitor-based organizations that are trying to manipulate free markets via government intervention around the world. Like many of the other anti-Microsoft organizations related to these same individuals, Digistan was likely created for some “critical” current event that only the founders recognize as critical and will fade away when that event passes All the while the shareholders of IBM (NYSE:IBM), Red Hat (RHAT), Sun (JAVA) and others are seeing their share value diminished by every dollar wasted on donating to them or sponsoring their events.

Digistan was launched thanks to a grant from the Information Program of Open Society Institute (the George Soros connection) and matching grants from OpenForum Europe and the European Software Market Association. The latter does not list its sponsors but the former is the front group behind other front groups like NOOOXML and Document Freedom Day (that’s right--it’s all the same bizarre cast of characters back again to waste your money). The OpenForum Europe's events, as well as possibly the organization itself, have been sponsored by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), IBM, Red Hat, and the ODF Alliance (which of course is closely tied to Sun because ODF--the Open Document Format--is Sun’s document format standard).

If it wasn’t for the implied association with terrorism it would be funny.