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<nettime> Linux wins Prix Ars due to MICROSOFT INTERVENTION
Marleen Stikker on Mon, 6 Sep 1999 03:38:13 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Linux wins Prix Ars due to MICROSOFT INTERVENTION


Below you will find a press statement from members of the .net jury of
this years Prix Ars Electronica. You will read about the real paths that
lead us, the jury, to award this years golden nica to the operating system


Marleen Stikker


       Linz, Sep 6, 1999

Media Contacts:
Marleen Stikker
Centrum de Waag
Amsterdam/ The Netherlands
Tel: (+31)20-5579898
Fax: (+31)20-5579880
Email: marleen {AT} dds.nl
Website: http://www.waag.org

Dr. Christine Schoepf
ORF Prix Ars Electronica 99
Linz/ Austria
Tel. (+43)732-6900-24218
Tel. (+43)732-6900-24270
Email: christine.schoepf {AT} orf.at
Website: http://prixars.orf.at


We, the "net." jury, have just learned that next years ars electronica
festival will be titled "OPEN SOURCE".  This has been inofficially agreed
on by the direction of the ARS ELECTRONICA and the sponsors Siemens,
Microsoft, Oracle and HP, e.a. From reliable sources we also learned that
the decision was made weeks before the ".net"-jury decision on "linux". 


Because we have also just learned that the above-mentioned IT-companies
are involved in a linux distribution joint venture and a strategic
alliance. Their joint venture startup will most probably become one of the
leading linux distributors, directly attacking Red Hat and SUSE. 

This is the classic oligopolistic strategy.  They cannot buy linux,
nevertheless, they will take control over the distibution of the

We were suspicious before, but now we are strongly convinced that there
was indirect but heavy influence by corporate and ars electronica
executives to reach the "linux" decision... 


For the jury welcome dinner, a few corporate people had been invited, too.
Everybody was discussing about where Ars Electronica could or should be
going. For the corporate people the main hype was of course the .net
category, e-commerce and the commercial impact of the "mass
communications" medium internet... and they were all constantly talking
about the creative potential of linux and its open source strategy. 

Then, at the actual jury meeting, deciding on a winner appeared to be
quite a hard decision (not to say compromise). Whilst the majority of the
jury had a clear favourite in the russian info- intelligence startup
"etxtreme.ru", another juror started talking about "that we need to decide
on something that is really taking two steps ahead, not some arty-farty
stuff". So "linux" just came up as a smart solution. we took this path, we
formulated our statement and came up with the source code as art work,
with our position against "beautiful" web-sites. it was a strong moment. 
And we saw linux as the perfect continuum to the corporate artwork of
etoy.com, the Ars Electronica winners of 1996. 


But the information about the secret linux distribution joint venture
between Microsoft and Siemens in combination with next years topic made us

Our conclusion: the industry has strongly lobbied and put pressure on at
least one jury member to award "linux". We now have to interpret this in
persepective of next years ars topic.  They pushed the topic. The idea is
to use the art and science community to soft launch their linux activities
and control open source strategies. They do understand that open source
has evolved into a stronger development strategy and they have to jump
that train early enough, in order to avoid another "internet" desaster. 

So as artists writers and scientists we are used as lab-rats and cheap
alternative researchers. This is NOT what artists need and it is certainly
not what Ars Electronica should be aiming at. 


We believe that investigative journalism is needed to further describe and
interpret this incident..  We definitely want to engage in bringing
transparency into the "who`s, when`s, where`s, and for how much money" of
this years decision making process of Prix Ars Electronica. 

For the press, we are available for background information and extended
infos on the topic via email or at our on-the-fly press conference: 

     sept 8, 1999, 1630h
     brucknerhaus in linz


     Derrick de Kerckhove
     Lisa Goldman
     Joichi Ito
     Marleen Stikker

Marleen Stikker
Centrum de Waag
Amsterdam/ The Netherlands
Tel: (+31)20-5579898
Fax: (+31)20-5579880
Email: marleen {AT} dds.nl
Website: http://www.waag.org

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