QoTD: Steve Ballmer

“People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us.”Microsoft aims patent guns at Red Hat

Thanks again, Novell!

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22 Responses to QoTD: Steve Ballmer

  1. Mark Unwin says:

    Surely that’s close to enabling RH to approach a court and say “MS is sprouting lies in the press about us – defamation” ? Then the court can say to MS (Balmer, et al) – “Put up or shut up. Which patents are you concerned about ?”

  2. Anonymous says:

    You should know by now that all they do is open their mouth and never come up with any proof. It’s like they demand the attention of a 10 year old but behave like retards when it comes to making decisions. You also have to understand their fear: The master is becoming the slave.

    I am also bothered by Novell’s decision but in the end they are just as money hungry as their partner. I am just happy that Vista sucks because it’s converting more people to Linux.

  3. Tom Mann says:

    I’d love to be the person that invented the mouse cursor at this point in time! If M$ put these plans ahead they’ll fall foul of Bell Labs, IBM and all the original Unix guys. It’s a dangerous game to play, just ask SCO.

  4. Peteris Krisjanis says:

    Jeff, I hardly think this was said in relation with Novell – Microsoft declared war on FOSS already for few years. Yes, Novell gave them little amunition, but he doesn’t refer to them in this speech – it does mean that even he understand that Novell “example” were laughted off.

    More or less this is declaration of war.

  5. jdub says:

    Peteris, keep in mind that my editorial comment is relevant whether or not this was said in relation to Novell.

    That said, Novell was mentioned — and is invoked in every almost every similar circumstance. As it says in the article, Ballmer thanked Novell for respecting Microsoft’s intellectual property.

    Novell have given Microsoft an outrageous amount of legitimacy by giving them the opportunity to make these claims. They should have sided with the Open Source industry and community, but they didn’t.

  6. Karl says:

    The fall of SCO has left Microsoft with only two viable alternatives:
    * sue everybody’ asses.
    * accept FOSS as a legitimate competitor.
    Ballmer’ FUD only shows that Microsoft’ crusade againt FOSS faces a cul-de-sac.

    Come on, show us the code Monkey Boy …

  7. MC says:

    I suggest that Red Hat use legal precedent to respond. I think that the findings of Arkell v. Pressdram are relevant to this case:


    “Our client’s attitude to damages will depend on the nature of your reply”. The response consisted, in part, of the following: “We would be interested to know what your client’s attitude to damages would be if the nature of our reply were as follows : Fuck off”.


  8. Francis says:

    Microsoft has and always will FUD about Linux. Blaming Novell for their new wave of FUD is counter-intuitive when:
    * The signed deal explicitly remarks that neither party, by signing the deal, admits any form of patent violationg, by any means.
    * Novell explicitly and continuously state that they do not believe there to be any form of patent violation in Linux

    So you would do better to target your frustration elsewhere.

  9. jdub says:

    Francis. Novell provided legitimacy for this kind of attack. It really doesn’t matter what Novell say in response — their actions have given Microsoft the opportunity to use the agreement against our industry and community, and I am seeing the results of this in public and private, business and commmunity, again and again. They screwed up. Badly.

  10. Francis says:

    I’m sorry but you’re only fuelling a break up in the open souce community which is evidently another thing Microsoft wants. It very much does matter what Novell says, particularly when they’ve been consistently maintaining the contrary. It also very much matters that people read the agreement to note that it specifically denies what Microsoft is saying.

    There are two problematic things here:
    * Steve Ballmer spreading FUD (not new)
    * Ill-informed people in the open source community who give out countless of negative headlines against Novell (an amazing contributor to free/open software)

    Blaming Novell for Microsoft completely twisting a business deal is just pointless. I really wish people wouldn’t do it.

    Saying that Novell provided the legitimacy for the attack is about just as meaningful as saying that me liking fruit necessitates me hating chocolate. There is a huge leap of logic in both propositions; just because the press buys into this stuff, it doesn’t justify people very-much-involved in the open source community buying into it too.

  11. jdub says:

    Francis, Novell can make this go away. They’re not doing so.

    That, unfortunately, legitimises Microsoft’s point of view on a whole range of things that are having a negative impact on our industry (whether it is the irrational “intellectual property” issue, OOXML, whatever). If Microsoft can say that they are fixing the IP issue and building a bridge to the Open Source community via Novell, they get to keep lying and manipulating public opinion about their position.

    Novell can make this go away. They’re not doing so.

  12. Wade Mealing says:

    Disclaimer: I work for Red Hat, but I don’t represent them, legally or otherwise.

    > Blaming Novell for Microsoft completely twisting a business deal is just
    > pointless. I really wish people wouldn’t do it.

    You’ll have to give Novell management more credit than that. It was obvious to anyone even before this announcement that Microsoft would use the Suse/Novell agreement to leverage their intellectual property, it even states so in the Patent protection agreement to SuSe customers.

    It doesn’t matter what their Novell/SuSe “intentions” were or are, Novell “sold out” the open source community, and continues to damage open source through their lack of action.

    Note to jdub, this might be too flamey for your blog, feel free not to publish if so.

  13. Stoffe says:

    It is not people calling Novell out that is breaking up the open source community – if anyone is doing any breaking, it’s Novell.

    Trying to ignore this fact, cover it up and “don’t mention the war” is not going to help anyone, only Novell fixing things will.

    To be really harsh, a smaller community of loyal followers is better than a larger where some lets the huns in through a backdoor.

    Novell have contributed a lot, but now they seem to put all their effort and eggs in the basket that says that Microsoft is the future and they just want to carve a little piece of that, on the expense of everyone else. Supporting bad and semi-closed formats (OOXML in ISO, worldwide, Silverlight, .NET and so on and so on).

    I guess they are betting and hoping that MS will win the desktop and format wars yet again and wants to stand there beside it. Like they would be allowed to remain after the rest is gone. How much better it would have been to side with the rest of the the FOSS community and try to go for an open, non-locked world.

    But at the very least they could stop actively supporting the closed world…

  14. Don Marti says:

    Red Hat is the wrong company to go for a declaratory judgment on this issue. What you need is a reverse patent troll.

  15. Sean Kelley says:

    Agree completely. Although Novell go out of their way to play games with saying they disagree with MS’ patent claims. The truth of the matter is they are dividing the community and they are essentially paying MS royalty. One can call that royalty anything one wants but it is ultimately feeding the patent claims and being leveraged by MS to justify further division and inroads in the community. I choose to not use Novell’s Suse/Opensuse at work. A small protest I know, but a significant one for me.

  16. thanks novell for what? selling out non-novell linux users? yeah, right. thanks a lot novell.

    everytime ballmer opens his mouth, another linux user vows never to use suse.

  17. jdub – I know you’re a Gnome developer, and I can understand your feelings regarding Novell. Maybe we should think about re-licensing from LGPL to GPL? IANAL, but that would mean to stand united in RMS’s words (see http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/why-not-lgpl.html on that topic).

    In other news, I was just wondering about how long Microsoft can still afford keeping that bloke (see http://wolfgang.lonien.de/?p=461). Stole his words from Groklaw, just in case anyone is interested.


  18. Zexy says:

    I hold the patent for wishful thinking and I figure Windbag Ballmer now owes me about $27.3M 🙂

  19. DBMOODB says:

    Novell makes this possible jdub ?….
    That is like saying a bully is not responsible for their own actions, it was Jimmy who said were Timmy was after Jimmy was beaten. Do not blame Jimmy. Novell has a commercial agenda to follow. I would rather Novell stays afloat. They do after all own unix now. Besides the Novell microsoft deal makes some interesting legal questions possible to test in court (gpl3). I wish there was less distro bashing and more silliness bashing.

  20. jdub says:

    DBMOODB, I can’t imagine what would be more “silliness bashing” and less “distro bashing” than this. It’s actually really sad that the great work Novell and my friends there are doing ends up being overlooked due to stupid business decisions.

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