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Hubris to Go

by BigDumbDinosaur

A new twist to the Open Source vs. Proprietary war is Microsoft claiming that the use of Open Source Software (OSS) in other countries could expose various and sundry people in those lands to copyright violation lawsuits.  Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's highly paid shill, goes on to say, in effect, that non-USA users of Linux and other such OSS could be sued by US parties laying claim to intellectual property rights that Linux developers have supposedly misappropriated.  I had to laugh when I read this, as it sounded more like old fashioned diplomatic saber-rattling than pragmatic business advice.

How does Ballmer intend to sue these folks?  Is he going to send a special ops team over to capture the offenders and drag them back to Redmond for trial?  Does this bozo (Ballmer) really think that software developers in India, China, Korea or other locations where OSS is being welcomed with open arms give a damn about Microsoft and their "intellectual property rights?"  I'm right here in the USA and I don't give a damn.  Ballmer's hubris goes way beyond anything else I've ever seen—even Bill Gates isn't that overblown.  In fact, Ballmer's arrogance transcends anything that was ever exhibited by the robber barons of nineteenth century America.

Anyhow, in this OpEd piece at Really Linux, the author rebuts Steve Ballmer's FUD-mongering and points out that this sort of "ugly Americanism" can only widen the political and idealogical chasm between the USA and other lands.  When an executive of a US company—a convicted monopolist despised by much of the world—tells other countries how they should conduct their business, I really would like to get into said executive's face and remind him that he's merely a businessman, not a member of the diplomatic corps.  In other words, Mr. Ballmer, speak for yourself, not the rest of America.

By the way, be sure to click on the CNN link at the bottom of the OpEd piece for more information.



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---November 21, 2004

I just hope that the rest of the world realizes that all of America doesn't agree with Ballmer, Gates, et al. (unintenional pun there). Nor did all of us vote for whats-his-name. Not that the other guy was anything to be proud of either, of course. I bet both of 'em think Microsoft's IP is important stuff.. aargh, sometimes I wish there were a whole other planet I could emigrate to. Please, if there are advanced aliens secretly watching this planet, beam me up! I know I'm probably too primitive and unintelligent, but I'll try to behave, I promise! Just get me out of this insanity!

--TonyLawrence

There's plenty of room on Mars -- althought the food and water supply doesn't sound too good. However, you can have a nice spread there, as the little red guys don't take up all that much space (pun also intended).

--BigDumbDinosaur

---November 22, 2004


In a web based forum were I hang out time to time there was this Microsoft employee that got a bit bent out shape when some of the more exitable anti-MS people began burning on Microsoft.

He said that Balmer's quote was taken out of context. That Balmer wasn't trying to say that MS would sue them if they used and developed linux, he just was pointing out a example of how the licensing costs behind Linux aren't as cut and dry as people like to think they are.

Namely that it's not realy that Free (as in No-cost and freedom) as people think because of the IP issues.

Of course I pointed out that what he said is very easily construed as a implied threat. For example, when if somebody cuts you off in traffic and you yell something similar to:
"Somebody is going to get you for that!"

Especially when "somebody" could be or not be Microsoft.


Of course when you realise that the target audiance is south east asia governments and their view on what is intellectual property is something along the lines of "your intellect is our property" (thinking of China mostly) he is probably completely nuts.

Microsoft (implied) threating the People's Republic of China, indeed!

--Drag



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