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Microsoft takes on the free world . . . and loses

May 14, 2007

Direct from the “give me a freakin’ break” department . . .

Fortune magazine — a publication that I don’t usually read — wrote that (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Microsoft claims that free software like Linux, which runs a big chunk of corporate America, violates 235 of its patents. It wants royalties from distributors and users. Users like you, maybe.” (the CNN story about it is here)

On the face of it, that’s merely laughable. What makes this a world class, wet-your-pants screaming laugher is that Microsoft has the unmitigated audacity to actually imply, as outlined in the third paragraph of the CNN article, that “one reason free software is of such high quality is that it violates more than 200 of Microsoft’s patents.”

So let me see if I understand this: Free software is of such high quality because it violates Microsoft’s patents? Microsoft? The same Microsoft that historically and currently foists on an unsuspecting public a buggy and insecure operating system augmented by subpar programs? That Microsoft?


But it gets better: Darth Ballmer took time from his pod on the Death Star to tell CNN that the FOSS advocates “have to play by the same rules as the rest of the business.” Watch out, Darth: Your hypocrisy is showing. That sounds like it comes directly from the “do as I say, not as I do” department.

This software saber-rattling may be coming from Redmond because they are out of viable options, so says Danijel Orsolic in a very interesting column he writes on the subject on Libervis.com.

The Free/Libre Open Source Software movement is not going anywhere, no matter how many lawyers Microsoft wants to hire.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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  1. June 10, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Redmond is running out of viable options? Why don’t they just create a decent OS based on *NIX? Apple did it. They can clutch all their precious higher-level apps (Office, Media Player, Direct X, etc.) while keeping the lowest level open source. Besides, if they’re so worried that FOSS is going to hurt their business, why don’t they just make their software better?

  2. June 11, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    That would be the REASONABLE thing to do, Keen, isn’t it? But then we’re talking about Microsoft.

  3. August 4, 2007 at 7:49 am

    But of course, I am fully aware. I knew some folk in the Redmond circle and apparently they worked for Bill’s Empire for several months without having to do any work.. still got paid, of course. This sort of attitude in software companies is exactly why I opted out of being a “professional” programmer several years ago!

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