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Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 07:33 AM EST

Steve Ballmer showed the world Microsoft's true colors today and what their nasty strategy against Linux really is. He gave a speech in Singapore at Microsoft's Asian Government Leaders Forum and told them that he thinks Linux violates patents, though he wasn't specific, and someday, someone will come after governments that switch to GNU/Linux, and sue them for those IP "violations":

"'Someday, for all countries that are entering the WTO (World Trade Organization), somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property,' he added. . . .

"Singapore's Ministry of Defense last month switched 20,000 personal computers to run on open-source software instead of the Microsoft operating platform.

"Other governments in the region are also looking to develop open-source software. China, Japan and South Korea this year agreed to jointly develop open-source software running on Microsoft's rival Linux operating platform.

"The Chinese government, in particular, sees its reliance on Microsoft as a potential threat. Conspiracy buffs believe certain patches in the Windows code might give U.S. authorities the power to access Chinese networks and disable them, possibly during a war over Taiwan."

They used to muscle other IT companies. Now they are threatening governments of the world. What a charming company. Use their product and you won't get hurt. Otherwise, watch out for your kneecaps. No doubt that endeared them greatly to one and all and as for fears, well, how could you not trust a company whose CEO is so pleasant?

John Dvorak sees Microsoft building up to offering a Microsoft Linux. Given the above warning, that seems unlikely. But Dvorak's alternative theory may have substance. Here's what he thinks the Vintela and Connectix purchases and the Lindows lawsuit mean:

"But its biggest problem is still security. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that security, which is at the top of the Microsoft to-do list, is expected to be off the list within the next year or two. This is not really possible with the 'never-ending patches' approach.. But it is possible if Microsoft creates a virtual firewall within the system that runs on another operating system -- Linux.

"It's well known in the business that a Linux-based computer standing guard as a firewall in front of a Microsoft Windows network is one of the most secure protection schemes being used today. By using a hypervisor and other tools Microsoft can create a similar model within a single machine and fix most of the security problems associated with Windows while allowing users to maintain their Windows networks and fearlessly run their Windows applications. . . .

"I suspect that Microsoft has been working with attorneys to see how far it can go to make some aspect of MS-Linux proprietary or somehow impossible to pass around free.

"Its backup plan would be to possibly use Solaris as the firewall operating system . . . . Either way, Microsoft is thinking big."

That isn't the most secure system, actually. In my experience, security means not using Microsoft products at all. Use a Mac or GNU/Linux, if you care about security. How could Microsoft use Linux to provide security for its products without waving the white flag and acknowledging defeat? No, the Sun thing makes more sense, and even that would tell the world that Microsoft products can't be made secure on their own legs. That's exactly what I experienced, which is why I left, among other reasons. I wrote about why I love GPL'd software once, and it's a feeling you can never have with any Microsoft product:

It's free as in speech, as in libre, as in freedom, not free as in beer. That's Linux' real draw, not cost. People happily pay plenty for GNU/Linux distributions, especially in the enterprise. Why? It isn't just customer support. It's knowing that you can trust who wrote it not to stab you in the back. If you can't trust the company, you can't trust their code. Pure and simple. . . .

Business customers are people too. And people are sick and tired of snoopware and viruses and backdoors and all the other things you can't fix or even understand in proprietary software. Linux frees you from those worries. You can learn whatever you want, fix whatever breaks or change whatever you want to make it do something just a bit different, or hire someone to do it for you.

People are sick of license terms that treat them like criminals, where even when you try hard to obey, you never feel free of that worry...am I allowed to do this? They love GNU/Linux because you can share with your friends and family freely, install it on as many computers as you own at home and at work. Sick of saving proof of purchase certificates under pain of a visit from the IP police and fines when they can't find that piece of paper from 1998. Sick of typing in numbers to prove they bought the software, and having software call home to validate their right to use what they bought, and companies that shove one-sided EULAs down their throats, claiming the right to monitor their hard drive for compliance. Sick of businesses that care about money for themselves first and customers a distant second. GNU/Linux opened people's eyes. It offers an escape from all of that.

In case Microsoft would like to know what they'd have to offer to beat Linux, here it is. They would have to offer us freedom, the freedoms the GPL guarantees, and that is the one thing they haven't got to sell. You know what customers are sick of? Corporations making money or trying to gain a competitive advantage from lawsuits. Consumers take a look and realize: what does this do for me as a consumer? Jack up prices to pay for the attorneys. That's it. These lawsuits you proprietary folk think of as normal business are a disgrace and show us all that companies that do this aren't thinking about their customers one bit. You know one of the many things that we love about GNU/Linux? They just keep coding and innovating and acting decently and they don't sue each other. You can't make people want something less good than what they know they could have if you weren't standing in their way. That's not what laws are for.

Security isn't Microsoft's biggest problem, anyway. Their biggest problem is people hate them because of their business practices. It takes a while for such feelings to reach critical mass, but I believe it is now reaching that point. They may have dodged some bullets in the antitrust case here in the US, but it left their reputation in shreds. Geeks and those in the industry already knew Microsoft for what they were, but the average guy did not, and when they heard all the evidence and Microsoft was found guilty, a sleepy public woke up and said to themselves, "They've been doing *that*?"

No one wants to buy a product that they need for some of their most private transactions and interactions from a company they don't trust. You can't solve that problem by threatening to sue people wanting to use another operating system. So, as I always say, barring martial law, in this case international martial law, I'd say Microsoft is doomed. Ballmer's speech is the shot across the bow, and the whole world now understands that it's a question of freedom. As the Register points out, the obvious solution to the problem of threats of patent lawsuits is to make sure not to pass laws that can be so readily abused by Microsoft:

"But if countries who want to join the WTO and get developed and rich should consider the dangers inherent in OSS, what about all of those countries who're already members of the WTO? They should perhaps also get the message about how Microsoft sees IP law being used in the future. Which might well have a helpful collateral damage effect in Europe, if Europe's leaders are paying attention. . . .

"This on its own may be no more than a temporary setback for the patents lobby . . . but the sound of Microsoft threatening all-out IP war really ought to strengthen the opposition's hand, and make the European Parliament, which opposes software patents, more determined to fight."

Ballmer's speech makes clear that Microsoft does indeed plan to use patents as an anticompetitive weapon, and all the calming, soothing words in Europe about software patents not really being patents on software exactly, blah blah, turn out to have been a lie. That means that MS has been flushed out of the shadows and into the clear sunlight, where we can all see what it's about.

Bullies tend not to look so good in the sunlight, and nobody respects a bully.


  


Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt | 513 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: Minsk on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:11 AM EST
... other than the image, which I see someone is already working on.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Steve Martin on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:17 AM EST

How could Microsoft use Linux to provide security for its products without waving the white flag and acknowledging defeat?

Simple... incorporate a Linux-based firewall into Longhorn (or whatever) and don't tell anybody. I for one do not doubt that this could happen. How would anyone know? We can't see the source code, so how could we (or anyone) catch them in a GPL violation?

---
"When I say something, I put my name next to it." -- Isaac Jaffee, "Sports Night"

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS-Linux? No! MS-BSD!
Authored by: scion on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:22 AM EST
Microsoft will use the no-strings-attached BSD code for their Unix needs. They
already have ported MS Office to the Mac OS X platform, which is based on
FreeBSD. I don't know if it runs in native mode, though.

It's the logical choice. They will be able turn their hats over, say that they
are using the BSD code that some say is more Unix than Unixware, and that the
Linux code is just a mongrel of lines made by kids in basements.

I am a long time FreeBSD user and system administrator, and this would make me
sick to see the biggest advocate of BSD code could be Microsoft, but it is
really the path of least resistance for them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Sue a Government?
Authored by: cbc on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:26 AM EST
Mr. Ballmer should know by now that to sue a government, you ask the
government's permission and if granted, you bring the suit.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonomous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:29 AM EST
Microsoft using a Linux agent running inside its preloaded suite would be one of
the best things that could happen to Linux.

Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office would come to depend on the built-in
Linux firewall for protection against the filthy wild outside world.

Any actions that Microsoft would take against Linux users (e.g. claiming a
patent violation and demanding an injunction pro tem banning further use) would
also apply to its own customers. If Microsoft granted only its own customers
relief from the action, that would be conditioning their use of Linux on being a
Microsoft customer. I cannot begin to imagine how any court could find
otherwise.

The GPL bans anyone from imposing any additional codicils or restrictions on any
distribution of Linux. And despite what Steve Ballmer and Jim Allchin think,
"anyone" includes "Microsoft".

-Anonomous.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:37 AM EST

In the bad old days, Microsoft was the good guy and IBM was the bad guy.
Microsoft was the good guy because their software was easy to use, it was cheap,
and it captured the hearts of minds of a new generation of developers.

Now, remembering that, I don't have much time for the unabashedly partisan
commentary from Groklaw - although I really appreciate the documentary material
that they make available.

But, when I see Microsoft blustering with this sort of unsubtlety, I'm reminded
of IBM's strategies when they realised how much of a threat Microsoft had
become.

So I'll make a prediction - in the 2010s Microsoft and IBM will be big fairly
benign companies and Some Other Corporation with its unbreachable foundations in
Linux will be the new figures of hate.

Just a little thought to warm the cockles of your hearts.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is Microsoft a cornered dog?
Authored by: Mecha on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:51 AM EST
Not that I really believe that, but I really believe they see Linux as not only
a viable threat, but an extremely dangerous one. And why shouldn't they. Linux
is just a much better all around platform. They are down to the point where
they are threatening governements? The AROGANCE of these people.

---
LINUX! Because Microsoft should have no business in your business!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Time to take account, and start collecting amunition.
Authored by: gotan on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:52 AM EST
I think its time to get the global Groklaw community mobilised to start listing previous incidents where Microsoft has been accused of stolen IP, and other unsavoury practicies, such as these: Some of which Novell might not be aware of... and of course I think international cases should be checked out too. Wasn't there one in France for Microsoft ripping off wholesale some companys code, that microsoft got convicted of? It was mentioend by in the Microsoft rebuttal by the Brazilian IT minister. Collecting public evidence documents before they are destroyed by Microsoft. It might be too late for now, but. the more ammunition we have when the fight comes, the more Microsoft can be shown to be an IP abuser, and worse, the better off we are.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why would any country want to join the WTO
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:54 AM EST
Isn't the WTO about Free Trade; i.e. allowing US (and other) multinationals to
make as much money out of the poor of the world, rather than Fair Trade; giving
everyone a fair reward for their efforts.

Microsoft == WTO. A bully which stops 'Freedom' turning into 'Fairness'

[ Reply to This | # ]

Critical Mass
Authored by: MplsBrian on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:56 AM EST
Security isn't Microsoft's biggest problem, anyway. Their biggest problem is people hate them because of their business practices. It takes a while for such feelings to reach critical mass, but I believe it is now reaching that point. They may have dodged some bullets in the antitrust case here in the US, but it left their reputation in shreds. Geeks and those in the industry already knew Microsoft for what they were, but the average guy did not, and when they heard all the evidence and Microsoft was found guilty, a sleepy public woke up and said to themselves, "They've been doing *that*?"
I have been predicting the downfall of Microsoft for the same reasons for about a decade now. If there is anything I've learned from watching the SCO fiasco, it is that sometimes one must be rather patient when it comes to seeing justice served. I still look forward to the day when Microsoft is no longer the de-facto standard for desktop computing, likewise for their office suite. However, I am through holding my breath and will instead patiently wait.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:00 AM EST
Is anyone else reminded of the Monty Python skit where some gangsters try to
threaten the army? Threatening governments which actually have the power to
change patent and IP laws can't be smart. And even in countries that allow
software patents, MS could end up facing more Eolas-style lawsuits.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Center of the Universe
Authored by: phrostie on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:04 AM EST
The Center of the Universe.

I came up with this a few weeks ago. since then i keep finding new and
wonderful ways to apply it. enjoy.



In Engineering the Center of Mass or Center of Gravity(called a CG) is something
of constant concern. An entire branch of engineering is dedicated to Mass
Properties as it is sometimes called. The Stability of a vehicles design can be
altered just by moving around an object from one location to another. Excess
mass can cause what might be a wonderful concept to turn into a pig. Too
underpowered to achieve itís goals.

With these thoughts in mind I had an epiphany the other day. Have you ever
notice that people who think the world revolves around them are constantly
trying to adjust their local Center of Gravity. They do this by producing BS
until the local consensus is shifted around them just as the shifting mass in
the real world would alter the CG. In many cases they surround themselves with
others who are willing to help this effort of shifting and shoveling BS. All
too busy to actually look around and notice that the center of the universe is
not only not where they stand, but so far from sight that they will never find
it.

Still they continue, a never ending effort to shift the Center of the Universe
with the creation and proper placement of bull shit. What scares me the most is
that if they ever do succeed, the universe will be so buried in BS that no one
will ever be able to get anything done.


---
=====
phrostie
Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of DOS
and danced the skies on Linux silvered wings.
http://www.freelists.org/webpage/snafuu

[ Reply to This | # ]

The antidote to FUD: AID
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:07 AM EST
AID = Action, Information, Determination

Action:
"The challenge is, if we feed the fear we're not able to think. It's called
cognitive incapacitation. Because usually fear leads to anger, anger leads to
hate, and we've got to stop the process right in its beginning. And the only
antidote for fear that I know of is to take an action, because thinking will
never overcome it. You must take an action in spite of your fearÖthat is the
best antidoteÖcalled courage."
Source: http://www.somethingyoushouldknow.net/transcript7_29_03.htm

ACTION, like in www.spreadfirefox.com or
http://www.tutorialsforopenoffice.org/volunteers.html

Information:

INFORMATION, like Groklaw has been doing for so long. The duty that the news
media *should* strive for

Determination:
DETERMINATION, the stubborn refusal to give up fighting for what we believe in


Counter FUD with AID!


[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:08 AM EST
In my experience, security means not using Microsoft products at all

Your experience is limited. I maintain a seven server Windows 2003 installation, and have run Windows networks for 10 years. I have only had one security incident in all that time. It can be done.

Desktop clients are a different story, but my own personal workstations have never been hit by a virus or spyware either.

I don't have a preference for windows, and windows has lots of problems...but do not continue to make hyperbolic statements such as this. It looks like FUD. Where have I heard that acronym before?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Linux
Authored by: DannyB on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:09 AM EST
PJ wrote...
John Dvorak sees Microsoft building up to offering a Microsoft Linux.


I can just hear the markieting squeak in such an event....



New! Improved! Microsoft Linux!

Don't be fooled by those inferior Linux products from the likes of Red Hat and others.

Buy only Genuine Microsoft (R) brand Linux. The Linux that Microsoft has embraced.

Yes, folks, Microsoft Linux has everything that you'll find in those other Linux knock offs. But Microsoft Linux has extended Linux with many great new patented features that set Microsoft Linux way ahead of the others. These features will extinguish the competition.

Using Microsoft Linux, you can still run every program written for those other generic Linux systems, while enjoying unique features found only in Microsoft Linux.

But wait! There's more!!!

Microsoft Linux is the only Linux that can run all your favorite programs, inclucing Excel, Word and Outlook, and many, many more! Now how much will you pay!?!

Order Now! Don't be left behind! Get in on a leading edge technology, from a leading edge company like Microsoft.

Unlike other brands of Linux, only Microsoft Linux has the stability, quality, and security that you've come to expect from the Microsoft name.

Limited time special offer!!! For a limited time, get a copy of Microsoft Linux for FREE! when you order Microsoft Office at full retail price! Remember, this is a limited time offer! This offer could be withdrawn at any time after our competition disappears! So hurry and order now!


[_] YES! I want to pre-order Microsoft Linux!

Enclosed is a blank check. When Microsoft Linux is ready to ship, please fill in the amount and then rush Microsoft Linux to me!


---
The price of freedom is eternal litigation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: llanitedave on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:09 AM EST
That Reuters article was frustratingly brief and superficial. It would seem to
me, though, that Ballmer is nothing more than a paper tiger. If other countries
don't recognize software patents, they can hardly be sued over them.

I can't think of a better way to convince other nations NOT to establish
software patents. Way to go, Microsoft!!!

---
Of course we need to communicate -- that goes without saying!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Make them file suit if they have a case to bring.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:10 AM EST
There should be a law stating that if a company is aware of patent infringement,
or likely to be aware if it, they have 1 year from the date of the law, granting
of a patent, or existence of an infringement to file suit.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The beauty of FOSS
Authored by: Vaino Vaher on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:25 AM EST
Balmer:
"'Someday, for all countries that are entering the WTO (World Trade Organization), somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property,' he added. . . .

If that someone goes to court he/she/it will face the same problem as TSG: They have to show that the code is identical or near-identical. Otherwise it isn't copyright infringement.
On the other hand, if the copyright is violated the combined brainpool of the FOSS will get together to create a clean-room implementation of that same functionality. The bad guys will and should get punished, but for the rest of us life will go on as if nothing ever hapened.

.. unless Bill and Steve manage to spread their "software-is-patentable"/"structure and sequence" lunacy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is terrorism.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:30 AM EST
This is who we are dealing with.

Terrorist: Hello, you are doing X. Please don't do X. It is illegal.
Civilian: Why is X illegal?
Terrorist: Uhm, i'm not telling you.
Civilian: Why not?
Terrorist: Uhm, i'm not telling you.

This is who we're dealing with. This is not only FUD, this is plain terrorism.
Based on MLAT, Asian countries should make sure Microsoft's servers,
workstations including all other technical devices, co-workers and paperwork is
seized for immediate forensic research given Microsoft is a threat to the
Freedom of our society.

[ Reply to This | # ]

228? I thought it was 283.
Authored by: kinrite on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:35 AM EST
"Ballmer, speaking in Singapore at Microsoft's Asian Government Leaders Forum, said that Linux violated more than 228 patents." Link

I thought OSRM said it was 283. It just goes to show that you can never trust Micros*ft's figures.
Or are things better than we expected?

---
"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865

[ Reply to This | # ]

I agree with this quote, but....
Authored by: OrlandoNative on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:36 AM EST
"People are sick of license terms that treat them like criminals, where
even when you try hard to obey, you never feel free of that worry...am I allowed
to do this? They love GNU/Linux because you can share with your friends and
family freely, install it on as many computers as you own at home and at work.
Sick of saving proof of purchase certificates under pain of a visit from the IP
police and fines when they can't find that piece of paper from 1998. Sick of
typing in numbers to prove they bought the software, and having software call
home to validate their right to use what they bought, and companies that shove
one-sided EULAs down their throats, claiming the right to monitor their hard
drive for compliance. Sick of businesses that care about money for themselves
first and customers a distant second. GNU/Linux opened people's eyes. It offers
an escape from all of that."

Now, I'm sure I'm going to be villified for this, but exactly how are some of
the things Red Hat is doing in their added SERVICE contract you have to buy to
get a boxed copy of Red Hat Enterprise Linux any different from this kind of
action?

(1) You can't "buy" the product without the service contract.

(2) You have to pay for a service contract FOR EACH MACHINE a copy of RHEL is
installed on that you own.

(3) You give RH the right to audit (2) to ensure compliance.

(4) If you are found in violation of (2); RH can terminate the service agreement
even for the machines that are actually licensed.

Now, just how is this "free"?

Before someone tells me that it's the SOFTWARE, not the contracted SERVICES that
matter, let me ask this question:

If you, or I, for that matter, were to go into Best Buy and purchase a, say,
color television; Best Buy will offer you a service/warranty agreement for an
additional fee. But you can turn that down. And if you do, you still can buy
an assembled, working TV set.

Now, if you try to do the same thing with RHEL; what do you get? A box of parts
you have to assemble yourself. Not even close to a working, complete product.

So, just where, for the average guy just wanting to watch TV, or in the RH case
wanting to use his computer, is the real freedom here?

True, those of us WITH A BACKGROUND in computer software may be able to take
that 'freely available' RH source, compile it, and end up with a running,
working system. But the average user probably couldn't. Likewise, the average
TV watcher couldn't be given a box full of parts and be expected to end up with
a working TV set once they'd tried to assemble them; though an electronics
technician might have a shot.

Some folks have said that RH is no longer open source, but a 'proprietary'
software company. That isn't really true; but their 'business model'; and the
restrictions they're applying to the SERVICE side of it; has taken what is
unmistakeably 'open source' software; but 'proprietarized' the package of it and
the service... ...without allowing a true 'middle ground' of just getting one or
the other; or, IF DESIRED, both.

THAT's why some folks now don't see Red Hat in the same light as they did when
the company was younger.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft motive thread
Authored by: PolR on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:41 AM EST
I don't see one. So I will post here this pointer to a Slashdot comment that seems to point to an interesting direction.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Groklaw Lurker on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 11:00 AM EST
John Dvorak wrote:
"...It's well known in the business that a Linux-based computer standing
guard as a firewall in front of a Microsoft Windows network is one of the most
secure protection schemes being used today. By using a hypervisor and other
tools Microsoft can create a similar model within a single machine and fix most
of the security problems associated with Windows while allowing users to
maintain their Windows networks and fearlessly run their Windows
applications..."

When I read the above, it reminded me of Jeff Merkey's recent attempts to
purchase the rights to Linux for $50,000.00 or some such ridiculous amount.
Maybe this is what he was after, the creation of a Linux sheild for Windows.

As far as the main thrust of this article goes, it is clear that Steve Ballmer
and Microsoft do not remember what happened to the robber barons of old.
Eventually, the profiteering became too egregious for even the super
capitalistic society of the time, resulting in the very laws that were used to
convict Microsoft.

If Microsoft attempts to use patents to maintain or extend it's monopoly, it
will, hopefully, find itself on the receiving end of hundreds, if not thousands,
of anti-trust lawsuits. Drain enough of that excess cash from Microsoft and they
can most certainly be brought to heel.

Perhaps sometime in 2009 or so, a concerted effort to break up the company can
be initiated. Few if any, companies since the Standard Oil Trust have been as
threatening or dangerous as Microsoft in the twenty first century.

---
(GL) Groklaw Lurker
End the tyranny, abolish software patents.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 11:30 AM EST
It makes no sense for Microsoft to come out with a version of Linux under their moniker. They despise the GPL and anything licensed under it.

It makes much more sense for them to beg/borrow/steal a BSD product, and use it as an underlying code base for an integrated firewall. They could even emulate the Apple approach (for NOT the first time in recorded history) and redesign their operating system from the ground up built on a BSD foundation, with a Windows GUI on top.

Microsoft has never had issues with the BSD license.

[ Reply to This | # ]

So this is not anti-competitive then?
Authored by: cheros on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 11:49 AM EST
It strikes me that this speech ought to be brought to the attention of the
people handling the EU lawsuit against MS re. monopoly.

Find next foot, aim, pull trigger. Not one of their best moves IMO.

= Ch =

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT. I just went to check out the WTO Agreements
Authored by: Mecha on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 11:54 AM EST
And you can either get them in a WordPerfect format or a PDF format. No WORD format.

The WTO Agreements

---
LINUX! Because Microsoft should have no business in your business!

[ Reply to This | # ]

The firewall idea is blithering nonsense
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 11:56 AM EST
I just don't get the firewall idea. It seems the worst kind of nonsense,
frankly.

If Microsoft wanted a better firewall (arguably the XP one does quite fine
already, but it's only a firewall and can only do basic packet filtering) they'd
have to be smoking something very interesting to choose Linux.

Why? Because there's the 'pf' firewall stack for BSD just there for the taking.
For that matter, there's most of BSD just there for the taking, too. They've
done it before, and I doubt they'd have a problem with doing it again.

What possible reason would they have to use Linux instead?

[ Reply to This | # ]

AFAIK WTO has no requirement on softwarepatents
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 12:00 PM EST
As far as I know, WTO has no requirements on countries
implementing software patents. Why should those countries
care about software patent threats if do not have a
software patent system? (independently of wether they are
members of WTO or not, since WTO does not mandate software
patents).

For example, EU is member of WTO (?) and EU might not have
software patents. Is ballmer making unfounded threats in
connecting WTO membership with anti-linux-FUD? Or have I
misunderstood something?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 12:05 PM EST

But would that actually be Linux? Or just a reasonable imitation. "Linux" is a registered trademark, the rights of which are owned by a well-known, sometimes soft-spoken Finn. I would suspect that any true linux components in "MS-Linux" (especially the kernel) would be GPL protected, otherwise they could not carry the trademark name "Linux".

There is nothing however preventing Microsoft from porting the Office suite (or any other Microsoft product)to linux, as a binary-only package. They are under no obligation to release such a port under the GPL.

Still, you raise a valid point in principle. But I'm not sure they would go that route.

Alex Brainard
Author of parent post

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT
Authored by: clark_kent on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 12:27 PM EST
I didn't see an OT section. So here it is...

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO BuyOUT
Authored by: shareme on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 12:36 PM EST
I think MS may be preparing to buy SCO and use their unix version with the
combination of using other patent companies to sue everyone...

---
Sharing and thinking is only a crime in those societies where freedom doesn't
exist.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Remove the *offending* code from Linux!
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 12:52 PM EST
Who can believe that software patents will be unacceptable in Europe? That's a
hope for the fool. Lets put our feet back on the ground. Software patents will
continue to exist, because huge companies like IBM, SUN etc will also continue
doing so. Microsoft says Linux infringes some of his patents. Linux developers
have also accepted that as a fact. Linus Torvalds also knows that, because he is
the gate-keeper. What in the world can be done to avoid Linux users from being
threatened with lawsuits? Obviously, as a Linux user company, I don't want to be
sued. What can I do? What can Linux developers do? I will not relay on
speculation that patent software will become unacceptable. I want real action.
Linus torvalds should start looking for ways to bypass the Microsoft (and maybe
others)' patents. This is in my opinion, the most logic action. If it's not
mine, why should I take it or borrow without permission? Otherwise, maybe Linux
developers are not really concerned, because they could tell the end
users:"ahem, you will have to pay some royalties to Microsoft, in addition
to what you pay to us". Remember, this is a different situation than SCO.
Those guys are a bunch of you know what. But Patents is something that will not
go away tomorrow or in the immediate future, for sure. This issue will extend
for years and will hurt Linux users unless, as I say, find ways to bypass those
patents. Linus Torvalds, you have something to do. Really.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT? :Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 12:54 PM EST
-Gates is giving away billions at the moment through his foundation

-If I recall correctly Gates has said he will give away most of his fortune when
he dies

-I used to work for a boss who was paranoid, his "issues" shaped the
way we all acted in that company,

-So Microsofts positions are not about building a Gates empire that will go on
forever, it's about his psychological issues, and how they shape Microsoft

-I keep reading hear from the legal perspective of what's happening, are there
any shrinks out there who'd like to pipe in.

[ Reply to This | # ]

IP & Patents
Authored by: Nick_UK on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 01:03 PM EST
I feel this area here is the problem - not MS, or the
SCO's of the world - but the idiots who seem to hand out
IP and Patents to anyone with big enough pockets to hire
100 or so lawyers applying for them 24/7.

The small guy at home working on OSS produces something -
quiet unique and original. The idea gets used, and hey,
it's a great idea! MS later patents this idea as
'theirs' (the 'to-do list' et al)... it gets given, then
all of a sudden the origianl coding and everything using
it has IP trouble.

The law is an ass - never so true in this instant.

As an aside, can anybody here name ANYTHING MS
'originally' produced without either buying out the
Company producing something it wants, or stealing the
idea?

Nick

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Great white hunter bringing glass beads.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 01:04 PM EST
What an arrogant guy.

Fortunately his arrogance and lies are so transparent that it is very unlikely
that any of those leaders are stupid enough to buy the ruse.

MS no longer has credibility in software quality and security.

Their only remaining strengths are: large customer base, and big bank account.

The only way for Microsoft to survive in developing countries are by bribes.
Opening offices and employing thousands of people, and make them dependent on
Microsoft tax revenue. Every time a government project goes for opensource, MS
can threaten to pull out. But this tactic can't last forever, without emtying
the MS coffers.

But that won't work with financial giants like China and Singapore. It is not
Microsoft who has enough money to buy the US government. It is China.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: prayforwind on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 01:16 PM EST
"Bullies tend not to look so good in the sunlight, and nobody respects a
bully."

I hope you're right, but I'm beginning to wonder:

- Who has stopped buying Microsoft products since they were criminally convicted
during the anti-trust trial?;

- An administration which used falsehoods to drag the USA into a war of
aggression just got re-elected, this time with a majority;

- said administration appears to be serving the interests of the Halliburton's,
Enron's, and Microsoft's of the world, not the interest of it's citizens. Now
Microsoft is delivering open threats to the governments of other sovereign
countries of the world.

PJ, I hope you are right and that good wins out in the end. But I'm starting to
fear otherwise...

---
jabber me: prayforwind@jabber.org

[ Reply to This | # ]

If this is true - nobody should ever write any software because it may be found violating an IP
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 01:23 PM EST
If what SB says is true, then no government, no public institution should ever
implement its own software system, because it is very likely, that it would
infringe somebodys IP...
So listen all you people!!! The only safe way to have any software you need is
to order it from Microsoft or from other firm which crosslicences patents with
MSFT!!!
Hey Governments!!! You can fire all your IT profesionals, you don't need them
any more!!! All you can get from them is a risk to be sued.
All you really need is to pay Microsoft for its wonderful, secure and IP free
(sorry should be IP risk free) software.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Never
Authored by: qu1j0t3 on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 01:31 PM EST
These super-rich scumbags will never dictate what I run on my computer, or what software I write. "We will fight them on the beaches, on the landing places, on the farms and in the cities. We will never surrender."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Possible violation of ANTI-TRUST Settlement AGAIN!!!
Authored by: Mecha on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 01:35 PM EST
I decided to go back and read up on the anti-trust ruling.

We all know about SENDER ID right? It excludes who - GPLed software.

The pdf of the California Group judgement

Starting three months after the entry of this Final Judgment to the Court, Microsoft shall make available for use by third parties, for the sole purpose of interoperating or communicating with a Windows Operating System Product, on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (consistent with Section III.I), any Communications Protocol that is, on or after the date this Final Judgment is submitted to the Court, (i) implemented in a Windows Operating System Product installed on a client computer, and (ii) used to interoperate, or communicate, natively (i.e., without the addition of software code to the client operating system product) with a Microsoft server operating system product. [emphasis is mine]

---
LINUX! Because Microsoft should have no business in your business!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Limited reporting: IBM spoke up too ...
Authored by: cheros on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 01:40 PM EST
Something I heard on the conference I'm at right now: apparently an IBM-er stood
up and mentioned that quite a number of those patents are actually IBM's, and
re-iterated the pledge that IBM would never use those patents against Linux
(naturally except as a defensive measure like in situations like SCO).

Just so y'all know - beware of the usual FUD.

= Ch =

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Linux firewall idea has merit...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 02:07 PM EST
Now it is obvious that just for firewalling, it would be nonsensical: you could
much better just take the code from the FreeBSD filters and be done.

But here is what would make sense: build an SELinux sandbox in which you run the
typical networking daemons like sendmail, bind and so on. Most of the
networking programs are BSD-licensed, anyway, so Microsoft can privately patch
their executables privately without telling others, but still can apply security
fixes as they come in. Microsoft already has reserved the rights in the XP
licence to patch registered systems at their whim, so they could use
cryptographically signed protocols for updating the networking sandbox much
faster than nowadays the patches get released.

Since they would mostly be using standard software, their security could not be
worse than that of a well-configured SELinux system, and the heterogeneity would
further close attack paths.

In addition, practically all Microsoft security holes would be at the same time
Linux security holes: that means that Microsoft would no longer suffer the
"most common system, so most commonly attacked" effect. They would be
at least as good as Linux automatically. The GPL conditions for the sandbox
itself would not be much of a problem: the box would just interface with Windows
and thus not provide much of a cloning/copying incentive.

It's not as absurd as it sounds at first. Whether they have the determination,
intelligence, chutzpah and knowhow to pull something like that off, is another
question.

[ Reply to This | # ]

power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutelly
Authored by: skip on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 02:08 PM EST
It seems even the desire for absolute power corrupts.
M$ rose to power because the UNIX vendors were too busy in-fighting and gave
them room to manoeuvre. Perhaps m$ realise this and see that they and other
proprietary vendors are facing the same situation with the rise of FOSS, so
they're trying to use legal threats in time to stop the rot.

Not all proprietary vendors are bad people. I worry that the fuss caused by
these high profile agitators is detracting from the high quality and standards
of some closed source commercial software producers.

Take winamp for instance. There's been a fully compatible clone of winamp on
Linux for a long time, and they've never muttered. Has it hurt them? Nope. In
fact, having a FOSS counterpart has made people see their product as being even
better. They have free and paid for versions, so they cope admirably with FOSS.


ID software is another good example. Carmack was initially bothered by people
editing the doom 1 executable directly, but decided to put his fears aside, and
the benefit to their company was enormous. Obviously they always encouraged
level editing and resource file hacking, so the mind set to allow users to
reverse engineer the product was already there.

Perhaps unknowingly ID hit a point that, had they chosen incorrectly, would have
transformed them from being the game gods to Cocademons overnight.

Luckily they chose the right course of action, to leave users making their own
choices as to how the product they purchased was used.

When ID had a shareware episode (ep 1) for doom 1 they asked people not to hack
that, but to write levels for episode two, so as to encourage people to buy the
full game. This was done in the form of a request, not a demand, and was
honoured by _all_ of their customer base without enforcement.

The community was self regulating, much like FOSS communities; it had rules and
standards. Interestingly many new doom level editing people who arrived late and
missed the initial community development accepted the established conventions
(who remembers the old file.id.diz wad file description) and had a lot of fun.
Producing some excellent content along the way.

My point with the above is, the proprietary model can work really well, but it
_must_ be a two way process. Give and take, and donít sue your customers.

I canít imagine John Carmack, had he been in a similar situation to the
Battle.Net vs BnetD fiasco , getting all legal. I _can_ imagine him chasing
after the people involved with job offers.

Innovation and enthusiasm are they keys to good proprietary software, not
litigation. Lastly, ID software are, so far as I am aware, unique in releasing
source code to their old games. I really appreciate this, since Iíve yet to stop
playing quake 1, and itís really fantastic having to code to read/play with.

Some aspects of the ID model are still used by games developers, but often only
in a restricted sense. They produce their own editing software, rather then
waiting for some fan to write it for them. Thus they only encourage usage of
their product in another way, not interaction to the extent of (heaven forbid)
reverse engineering file formats to produce fan built editors. They have
commercialised the idea of what ID were doing to try and engender the same
community response, but the effect isnít the same, the Ďpioneer spirití is gone.
Pioneer thinking, by itís very nature, always fades, but it need not lead to the
software equivalent of driving Shepardís off the prime cattle grazing land.

I believe that the Sims is producing something of a community, but Iíve no
experience of that, so canít comment on that area, perhaps someone will
enlighten me.

So, in summary, donít get all rowdy about proprietary software, some of it is
truly great. We just need to keep our many eyes on the practices of those
companies who give the rest a bad name.

I think I may have gone on for too long now, so Iíll stop :-)


---
The above post is released under the Creative Commons license
Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0.
P.J. has permission for commercial use

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 02:16 PM EST
For every 1 person who claims they have never had a problem with M$, there are
literally tens of thousands that have experienced the opposite. From those tens
of thousands, you will find a majority experienced severe problems. Severe
being more than a virus that cost them a purchase of Enterprise AV software and
additional firewalls, but usually enormous financial drain on a company.

Code Red cost a family member of mine a whole business, and investments of
hundreds of thousands of dollars from themselves and contributors.

Exploits in IIS and Microsoft SQL cost thousands of internet business
everything. Who would buy anything from a Company on-line, after their on-line
records were stolen leaking credit card information and compromising customers?


Viruses cost the average business days of outages each year alone, and that does
not include the normal patch routine outages for Windows which exceeds a week.

An average business using Microsoft as their main OS pays for 8-10 days of down
time every year in both IT support, and user outages. In addition, no business
pays for JUST the Microsoft OS, but they HAVE to pay for AV software, enterprise
management software, firewall software, etc...

This is the reason I use and support linux.

I don't want to pay for AV software, Firewall software, Adware software, tools
to fix my registry because nothing is ever removed properly, or run illegal
copies of these same softwares.

In Linux, I'm free of worrying about Watchdog finding my personal information
sent to a web server.

In Linux I'm free of fears that opening my next email will infect me with a
Virus.

In Linux I'm free of fears that my address book and contacts will be known to
hackers all over the internet.

It's not about Linux being free, I pay RedHat for Linux, and purchase tools like
Dia, contribute to software vendors like Codeweavers and Gimp. In fact I have
paid RedHat since version 6.0 for Linux.

I pay for those things, because I trust them. I have no trust for Microsoft.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Recognition of patents in different jurisdictions.
Authored by: jaydee on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 02:32 PM EST
WTO TRIPS Agreement

From what I've read, there is some patent protection in WTO agreements, though software is not specifically mentioned.

But even so, lets assume you have two patent regimes in different countriesand each recognise software patents but differ on interpretation so that a USA patent would not be recognised in the other country. What happens?

The proposed EU software patent regime is quite different to the US regime even if it is accepted.

I think Mr Balmer may not like the way the law works in practice.

PJ, Marbux, AllParadox, would it be possible for one of you to do a commentary on the WTO agreements on patents.

---
If you find yourself in a fair fight... you didn't plan you mission properly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer's Choice
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 02:55 PM EST
Let' see:

Make MS products better, more reliable, faster, easier to use, cheaper, with
improved fucntions and reduced maintenance?

OR:

Call the lawyers, bribe the politicians, engage in illegal restraint of trade.

Guess we all know what their choice is - and its all downhill from here.......

[ Reply to This | # ]

Virtualize this
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 03:18 PM EST
MS software is so tied together that things done in a web browser can destroy
the OS. The only current answer to this security nightmare is virtualization of
the applications ala VmWare (or MS Virtual PC). If you give each application
it's own virtual machine, the damage can be limited. It's also very easy to
close a virtual machine, then reload it clean from any previous problems. It's
also interesting that Linux makes a good stable host for those machines.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: The manager.
Authored by: Retep Vosnul on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 03:28 PM EST
In almost every market sector MS dives into they make a terrible loss on there
stuff just to push it to the number 1 slot.
They can do this because of years of overpricing ( and forcing into market )
just basicly two of there products. That OS thingy and Clippy.

If MS can not compete in a market sector with price / quality they have no
bussiness there anyway.

And they can't.

Lots of software companies seem to manage nicly in sectors with competition, why
can't MS ?

If your only way to make a profit out of a piece of the market is to own nearly
a 100% userbase share there can be only one conclusion.

You run a poorly managed company in a very very stupid manner.

Dear MS, maybe your place IS on the desktop.
When we get around to it we will see if you have a future there.



retep.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Win/Unix security
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 03:33 PM EST
I work for a large manufacturing plant in ohio. We have roughly 200 Win
servers, about 80 Aix boxes, some HP, linux and a sun box also.
The windows side of the house, for virus projects/fixes alone spent 2 man years
in 2003. This does not include the cost of the software, or routine o.s. level
windows patching.
Unix/mainframe administrators spent 0 hours.
I won't bash security on one platform vs. another, and would never claim to be a
security expert (Storage and disaster recovery is my deal).
Our Sys admins on both sides are pretty decent (Two unix admin, 6 MS admins).
Like I said, not slamming anything one way or another, but facts are facts. You
run MS, you get simple, easy to use and difficult to secure/maintain. You run
unix, you get more complex, little more difficult, and little more secure.
That's not an opinion, it just no kidding, unfunded, non-sponsered, real world
facts.
I will concede the fact that MS is getting better on pushing out patches for
thier problems, but in an operation our size/diversity, it still takes weeks to
put those patches in our environment. On the flip side, we patch the Unix boxes
immediatley for security problems, and every six months or so for everything
else.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 03:34 PM EST
It's an intriguing approach on Mr. Ballmer's behalf regarding the
emerging Asian markets. The Register, this morning, was
suggesting that verbatim quotations were not available yet, so we
may find this to be another case of Ballmer being misquoted or the
journalists not getting the trenchant wit which has already provided
us with gems such as Apple users are mostly music stealers.

But, wouldn't one response be, among Asian countries, to rethink
the whole WTO entry? If it means being required to overpay for
underperforming software from a foreign source and/or being
sued. Well, oh my.

After all the Asia markets will continue to exist, regardless of
whether the countries are in the WTO or not. At some point, the
nations of Asia may say that trade has to be by their rules, and not
by the rules of the US and Europe.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Clueless O'Gara
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 03:36 PM EST
"If Novell has its way we'll never get to find out who owns the Unix
copyrights"

Nah, you silly, if SCO doesn't own the copyrights, Novell owns them. You put on
the wrong horse, admit it.

Also, who the heck cares with Unix, when we got Linux?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: inode_buddha on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 03:54 PM EST
Isn't this the same MS that opened their code to the Chinese gov't a few weeks
after the anti-trust settlement? I recall all during that time how MS had said
their code was a matter of national security, under oath even.

---
"When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price." --
Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 03:58 PM EST
Is John Dvorak every right with his predictions? As has been pointed out in
previous replies there are many better alternatives to them using Linux code
(BSD).

I think he's as far of the mark with this as everything else he says...

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS, BSD / Linux firewall and other stuff
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 04:01 PM EST
MS probably has under it's employ the best software engineers that money could
buy - (and they undoubtedly have a lot of that). I am sure they have enough
resources to write their own firewall. It would be riduculous to even think that
they would steal GPL code from linux or use just BSD

It is really surprising, that with so much resources they come up with crappy
products. It is really really astonishing.

I have a really cool sony vaio laptop with 1G RAM. Linux just zips by. When I
run XP I usually have to wait for minutes before anything I click on pops up.
After I installed service pack 2 things were actually better - for a few days. I
didnt even install any app after that. I dont know why things went South after a
few days...

Wireless connection is flaky. I usually get very poor quality of surfing or
download speeds when I use XP.

There can be only one reason to explain this. Writing an operating sytem like MS
is much more complicated than one would think. Its not a simple OS - it has to
do a lot of other things that other OSes dont do. For instance ability to
recognize competitors programs and screw them up...

This layer of added intelligence is perhaps what makes windows much more
complicated - and hence prone to bugs. Nothing else explains why it has to be so
bad.

Agreed, things are getting better. As more of more of the competition has been
killed they didnt need to do a lot of those hacks in XP.

But now they have to take care of the two other threats - mozilla and
openoffice...

The only reason I use XP is 'cos my 2 year old loves the motioneye camera -
which does not work under linux. It gets really painful if you have to reboot
every time.

I use latex for wordprocessing, and firefox / thunder bird - in windows and
mozilla in linux. It is very sad that the latex environment for Windows- MikTex
- is much much cooler than tetex - installing packages are so easy - in fact it
will even do it on the fly for you whenever a package is needed! It is also sad
that I still havent been able to make firefox and thunderbird play with each
other in Linux - which is trivial in Windows. I have everything I need in
Windows. If only XP would take the finger out and actually run...

Actually, the good news is that my son seems to be losing interest in the camera
of late. So I havent switched to XP for the last 10 days :)

Go Ubuntu!

and of course, Boo Ballmer!



[ Reply to This | # ]

MS backpedals, quotes OSRM
Authored by: inode_buddha on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 04:41 PM EST
Full story Here. [microsoftwatch.com]

---
"When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price." -- Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nice article on the Register on Stevie B.'s "I'll break your legs argument"...
Authored by: Groklaw Lurker on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 04:47 PM EST

http://www.theregister.com/2004/11/18/ballmer_linux_lawsuits/

Enjoy...

---
(GL) Groklaw Lurker
End the tyranny, abolish software patents.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft denies the story
Authored by: rharvey46 on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 04:58 PM EST
This story appears to be mostly part of the SCO/IBM lawsuit and may have very little substance (except perhaps that SCO is using the story as 'proof' of its case). One of the principal links is at SCO Group INC (SCOX) under Yahoo - at present the first link. This may indicate the level of quality of the actual report.
It is presently linked to Reuters Yahoo

Some of the story may or may not be what Steve Balmer said. Some of it may be what was identified in a different story. "Microsoft officials said Ballmer's remarks were taken out of context, and are offering a transcript of his statement, to make its case." Is Microsoft Rattling the Linux-Patent Sabers? A similar (if not identical) link is at Original Story Ballmer: On the Linux Hot Seat (Again) This is in reference to Lawyers Weigh In on Linux Patent Threat by Steven Vaughn

Note : Most of the links are related to Microsoft, but are not pro-microsoft sights as such. The biggest issue may be that the report about Linux violating 228+ patents is an OSRM report, and the reporter for this story seems to imply that Balmer agrees with the report; however, it appears that Balmer was merely citing the report. On the other hand, it can easily be interpreted as falling into the right (or is it wrong?) hands.

I am not attempting to take sides on this issue, merely attempting to correct some of the potential claims in or about this article.

Sorry PJ

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dvorak and MS/Linux Firewall OS
Authored by: krow on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 05:30 PM EST
Why wouldn't MS use OpenBSD as their "firewall OS?" It's very secure
and MS could just take it and make it proprietary without having to work around
the GPL. MS/Linux makes zero sense to me.

Cheers,
Craig

---
Corollary to Clarke's Third Law:
Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: e122298 on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 05:38 PM EST
How can we get this link to the EU commission?

---
Einar Barrios

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 06:12 PM EST
I think that suing the Government would be the surest way to ensure software
patent reform.

Sue away Microsoft!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: blacklight on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 06:54 PM EST
"'Someday, for all countries that are entering the WTO (World Trade
Organization), somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for
that intellectual property,' he added. . . ." Steve Ballmer

The whole sentence can be summed up in one word: THREAT. And it is highly
interesting that Microsoft is implicitly purporting to be the interpreter and
enforcer of the WTO rules - A convicted, unrepentant monopolist laying down the
law and internatioal law at that: what a concept! Given that Linux was developed
independently of these sw patents, a question mark does arise as to their
non-obviousness and the existence of prior art.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ballmer: the (fat, stupid, with big foot in mouth) UGLY AMERICAN
Authored by: jim Reiter on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 06:55 PM EST
As an American, I ask, "Why do you hate us?"

and they answer "Bill Gates" (humor but not funny)

Bumper Sticker
When Linux is outlawed,
only outlaws (and the rest of the fricking world) will
have Linux.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Missing Point
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 07:48 PM EST
I don't see this raised elsewhere so here it is. It really doesn't matter where
Microsoft gets their firewall. The software will support Microsoft's desire to
monitor and control it's users. That will require holes in the firewall that
can be exploited by folks who want to crack into machines. Telling a cracker
that he can't reverse engineer a patented/copyrighted protcol is roughly
equivalent to telling a junky he can't buy drugs. As I think about it the two
issues are very parallel on many levels. Legal status, social side and chance
of getting prosecuted come immediately to mind.

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Cleaning up after Ballmer: He didn't say that, really.
Authored by: Latesigner on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 07:53 PM EST
Would you believe this rebuttal ?
http://www.microsoft-watch.com/article2/0,1995,1729352,00.asp?kc=MWRSS02129TX1K0
000535

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Microsoft is a monkey
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 09:00 PM EST
If Microsoft were clever it would leave the headaches to someone else. It really
wouldn't hurt Microsoft much to abandon IE altogether as it isn't a money making
part of their business.

What if longhorn were to ship with ... mozilla firefox ... preinstalled! I know
Firefox isn't as secure running on Windows as it is on linux, but just think
what this would permit them to do. Any subsequent web based vulnerabilities
could then be blamed on Firefox. Effectively they would be able to dump the
entire problem of securing Windows against web based intrusion in mozillas lap.


Microsoft would then be able to devote its full energy to retaining its desktop
OS and Office software monopolies (where the real money is). They would be much
tougher competitors in these areas if their energies were not tied up in the
nightmare which integrating a browser (inherently a dangerously exposed piece of
software) into their operating system has brought them.

Microsoft is like the monkey which has reached into a jar to grab a treat and
has become trapped because it is unwilling to let go of the treat to get its
hand out of the jar. The web browser market is the treat. As a linux lover I
hope they try to hang on to it as long as possible.

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but solaris is gong open source too!
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:16 PM EST
thats all fine and good except solaris (sun) is now also on the open source
bandwagon.

solaris10 is open source ... so what are they going to do now?
and I heard the jave stuff is open or openning...

MS already uses GPL software in windows code, you can find some strings in the
binaries if you care to look. and they have a notice you can go to some webpage
to get the code yourself if you want, so they are complying with the license, I
guess... there's also BSD code in there too, yes.

but who's done an audit to ensure there's no improper code in MS products? its
closed-source, no one can see it. so how do we know? well... we don't!

Microsoft will try whatever it can to kill linus, the problem is there is no
"thing" called linux... its not a single entity controlled by a single
company, corporation, or even a single government or country... its world-wide
now, global -

the genie is out of the bottle and MS better get used to it!
theres no way it can go back in now... the code is spread way too far and
wide... everyone knows it and has it, anyone can get it and use it.

and what of countries like China and others who dont even care abut the Berne
convention ?? what then? I mean like Brazil and such... and places that just
cant afford Microsoft crapola ? what, MS is going to offer special discounts for
Ethiopia ? uh I dont think so...

Microsoft thinks it can control thr world in the same way the US thinks it can
control the world. unfortunately it doesnt work, and the US is a mess and
getting worse everyday. soon there will be no tech jobs in the US, and then
what? this system cannot endure...

time for a social revolution...

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Patent poison pills
Authored by: jim Reiter on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:26 PM EST
Countries can start registering all software sold/imported into the country.
Registration would including a filing of the software source code. The source
code could be reviewed by the public for possible patent/copyright violations in
the software.

A company could not file patent/copyright violation claims in a country if that
company is not selling registered software containing the patented/copyrighted
material in the country.

Poison pills aren't just for companies.

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Would you buy software from the US
Authored by: Walter Dnes on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:30 PM EST
Before answering, read this. Now assume that you're China, and you know that some influential Americans want the current Chinese government turfed out. Do you *REALLY* want to trust your country's infrastructure to American software?

Even South Korea and Japan feel antagonism from many Americans. They, too, would feel uneasy about entrusting their infrastructure to American software. With that news story, people became aware of what malware could do to a country's economy. The US isn't trusted any more.

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Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:36 PM EST
I think some of you are taking the term firewall too literally. I don't think
it's meant strictly in that sense.

My read is he is suggesting that they will be using the aquired products to
create a virtual machine layer in which windows can run while the real operating
system, which is more securely designed, runs at a lower level. Like running
windows in vmware or connectix. Except that this vm will be perform more than
mere machine emulation and will actually taken on some of the windows processing
at a lower level. Similarly the specific example of the firewall can be running
in a more secure o/s before any packets reach windows or leave it.

But I do think the firewall was merely an example of a more generalized post in
Dvorak's article when taken as a whole.



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Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:36 PM EST
Microsoft must be getting really desperate about Linux and oss. The reason I say
that is that this threat is a really risky move because it is sure to provoke a
backlash. In particular, countries in asia and elsewhere will respond to it by
staying away from passing US-type software patent laws.

If Microsoft had a good strategy against Linux and oss, it wouldn't have to
resort to such extreme and uncertain tactics. The fact that Ballmer would say
something like this indicates we are winning.

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Sounds like Microsoft is inviting a "preemptive strike"
Authored by: globularity on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 10:56 PM EST
Faced with a threat like that, the plan of action could be:
Plan to rid your government of any Microsoft products! An authoritarian state
like Singapore could even rid the country of Microsoft products, this is nothing
to do with trade, national security is a good pretext.

Make a crime of gaming the patent sytem with criminal penalties, I'd like to see
Microsoft employees facing extradition proceedings! Of course accessory to this
would shut down their local offices by making criminals of their employees.

My A$0.02

Mark

Do a tax audit on their distributors, transfer pricing would be a good pretext,
which they may be guilty of anyway.

Theatening the organisations who write the laws is sign that Microsoft has
become powerful enough to attract the attenion of intelligence agencies and
lawmakers lets hope Microsoft gets what it deserves

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Ballmer: Use Our Software or Somebody Might Get Hurt
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 19 2004 @ 12:07 AM EST
It's interesting to note this particular sentence from Mr Balmers speech.

<i>"'Someday, for all countries that are entering the WTO (World
Trade Organization), somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights
for that intellectual property,' he added. . .</i>

In 1996/7 (dont have details handy, hoever, may be externally available from
http://www.ronsuskind.com; or just check the text 'The price of loyalty' by Ron
Suskind, the appendix and notes have further references) an African Economist
was the sole nomination to become the head of the WTO. The nomination was
denied by the US. The WTO was effectively put out of action for several months
until an American economist was endorsed and approved for the role.

In short, the WTO would be better considered as an US organisation looking to
get the better deal for the US.

Feel free to condradict, moderate as irrelevant, whatever.

Beyond that; Groklaw rocks.

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Governments security fears "overblown"?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 19 2004 @ 12:27 AM EST
Maybe it's the way the Reuters article is written or I am reading too much into
it. Quote:

" The Chinese government, in particular, sees its reliance on Microsoft as
a potential threat. Conspiracy buffs believe certain patches in the Windows code
might give U.S. authorities the power to access Chinese networks and disable
them, possibly during a war over Taiwan.

Ballmer said the security fears some governments had about using Microsoft
software were overblown. "

Now, to me, saying that something it overblown leaves room for the possibility
to exist. If I said that I refused to fly because I was afraid of a crash, you
could say that my fears were "overblown" because flying was relatively
safe. But you could not say that my fears were completely groundless, as planes
do occasionally crash.

On the other hand, if I said that I refused to take off my tinfoil hat because I
was afraid that the government would listen to my thoughts, you wouldn't say
that my fears were "overblown". You would say they were completely
false.

So did Ballmer actually use the word "overblown" in this context? If
so, it would seem to be a little bit of semantic dancing on his part. "Your
fears that our software contains a secret back door are overblown because there
is a 99.9% chance that it does not exist."

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What about enforcement?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 19 2004 @ 03:39 AM EST
This mixes the ownership type, but...

Aren't these the same countries where you can walk down the street and buy new
DVDs and "pro" versions of software for $2 - $5???

daddmac

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Singapore uses more Linux than meet the eye
Authored by: hosehbo on Monday, November 22 2004 @ 04:48 AM EST
I am a Singaporean.

The Singapore government is actively and quietly switching more servers and
desktops to Linux than the 20,000 quoted in the papers.

I was told a senior Microsoft executive (dunno if it is Ballmer) flew down to
meet the Singapore government with a cut-throat offer, but it was turned down.

A significant victory for Linux!

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