Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Show us the Code bullied into silence

A few months ago there was a great online petition going on from people inviting Microsoft to sue them for alleged patent infringements. It was exactly the kind of thing you might expect from the blogosphere and perfectly suited for the digital world that is the communicationsbackbone of Linux and open source development.

Yesterday appeared a sad and shocking post on the Show us the Code blog. The man behind the initiative explains that he was bullied by his company to shut up or pack up.

They were professional and courteous and reassured they would not attempt to violate my freedom of speech. But the underlying message was clear even if it was never stated explicitly and I was not in a position to start bucking my place of employment over a political cause.

DigDuality is still quite gentle in his positioning.

My company didn’t “silence” me, i made the choice to shut up to not ruffle feathers at my place of employment.

He left the company, but also decided fold the cards on the petition and the campaign.

I want to express my appreciation for the initiative which was a call to arms at the right time. I also understand why the cards were folded after such bullying. And bullying it was. When you threaten one of your employees for something that is private and personal…… I have no decent words for it.

His managers and in fact the CIO of the company I was employed at had it brought to their attention that I had an “anti-microsoft” site. It was also brought to my attention the Fortune 1000 company I worked for was a direct partner with Microsoft. My manager was made to be under the impression that I was representing this company in my efforts to call a bluff on threatened litigation and that I, as an employee, did not have the right to use my place of employment as an endorsement of this cause.

This is a sad day.

I do endlessly thank everyone for their support and I do apologize I didn’t have this better thought out to function in a way that could keep going without me alone. But I guess the real world experience of me against multinationals taught me a thing or to about having an opinion.

Thank you DigDuality for sticking out your neck. Your opinion was and is sound and I have no doubt it will be carried along.


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