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Ballmer Calls Linux "A Cancer"

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the chemotherapy dept.

709

davidebsmith writes: "In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says that Linux and the open source movement is "good competition" because it will "force [Microsoft] to be innovative," but calls Linux "a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches." He also says that the inclusion of IE in Windows has been "great ... for innovation in the software industry" (except for Netscape) and that MS's new copy protections are just "bumps in the road" to "help customers understand when they are crossing the line . . . so they can't do the wrong thing." And he says a few more amusing things, also."

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What is ours is ours and yours is ours. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#183254)

Q: The new Windows XP software, I've seen a trial version, contains a number of free products--media player, a CD burner, an Internet firewall. Could that bundling hurt smaller competitors who make stand-alone software? Isn't this kind of bundling that you offered with Windows and Internet Explorer? Yes it is. You pay for it along with the OS. And make no mistake MS could not care a bit for those other companies and the property they speak of is their own. 3RD party windows software is dead. You develope it and MS collects on it year after year after year.

Re:This word (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#183266)

To Moderators: This moderation you use...(+1, Funny)...I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Damn... (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#183270)

You're kidding right?

There's plenty that's "free" about the GPL just not what some people want to be free (i.e. free to exploit).

You are free to read the source code.

You are free to wall-paper your house with the source code.

You are free to recite the source code.

You are free to compile the source code.

You are free to copy to source code to another media.

You are free to give a copy of the source code as a Christmas present.

You are free to modify the source code.

You are free to learn from the source code.

You are free to tinker with the source code.

You are free to charge a fee for transfering the source code. Now this of course does not mean that you are free to do these things in anyway whatsoever. (i.e. you may not be allowed to recite the source code over an illegal FM transmitter. Nor are you violate the terms of the GPL). Nonetheless, only a shabby miscrosoft-like absence of logic would allow the conclusion that there is nothing free about the GPL'ed software.

What's funny is that the napster-kid mentality and the anti-GPL mentality seem to be essentially the same. "I deserve to be able to profit from someone else's work."

Re:A pox on both your houses... (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 12 years ago | (#183275)

WOO! Packers! =)

----

bumps in the road (2)

Wansu (846) | more than 12 years ago | (#183278)

I wonder how these "bumps in the road" will be received. Most of the people in my company still use NT4.0 with service pack 6. We haven't deployed Windows 2000 yet, although a few developers run it. It's going to be expensive to upgrade. Think home users are going to go for that? If your home machine needs to have it's OS reloaded, it's going to be a big hassle. I suspect these "bumps in the road" will translate into gouges in the eye.

Let's not jump to hasty conclusions (5)

alewando (854) | more than 12 years ago | (#183279)

Chances are, it's a quote taken out of context or a wholesale fabrication by a reporter. Microsoft didn't get where it is today by putting its collective foot in its mouth like that, so when you hear a quote as absurd as "Linux is a Cancer" (which Microsoft itself knows to be a falsehood), take it with a grain of salt.

FUD is your enemy, but don't compound the problem by restorting tooFUD yourself. Microsoft still deserves the benefit of the doubt, and we should always take a careful investigatory approach whenever we wish to report news that may be damaging to the reputation of either party. That's the approach Microsoft has historically used (see mindcraft and others), and it's the least we can do too.

Re:License issues (2)

Frater 219 (1455) | more than 12 years ago | (#183290)

The way the license[gpl] is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source

That's pretty much what Mundie said. Seems that that's the Company Line. And I think RMS, O'Reilly, et. al. addressed that pretty well.

Let's see ...

  1. Craig Mundie has made a false statement. GPL does not require you to "make the rest of your software open source"; only software that is derived from copyrighted, GPLed software.
  2. Craig Mundie knows it's a false statement. He has responded to refutations of his statements; therefore, he has read said refutations, and knows that he's wrong.
  3. Craig Mundie is making this false statement maliciously. He's doing it in order to hurt his open-source and free-software competitors.

I believe the lawyers have a word for what happens when someone knowingly makes a maliciously false statement in print. I believe that word is libel.

Simpsons Para-phrase (2)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 12 years ago | (#183291)

Thus spake Steve Ballmer:

"Linux is a cancer on intellectual property, and we (Microsoft) are...hey Bill, what cures cancer?"

Ever notice that Ballmer looks like Frankenstien's monster?

Separated at birth? (1)

Anonymous Commando (6326) | more than 12 years ago | (#183322)

Steve Ballmer: "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches..."

Agent Smith: "Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet, you are a plague, and we are the cure..."

Spooky...
________________________

Re:Damn... (1)

Moonwick (6444) | more than 12 years ago | (#183324)

The challenge is that he's right. There's nothing "free" about the GPL if you're a developer that doesn't have the same views as RMS and the rest of the free software movement.

I'd love to see someone on slashdot actually prove his statement wrong.

(Yeah, I think the rest of what he had to say was typical MS babble, but he hit the GPL nail right on the head.)

Re:From the interview (5)

Nugget (7382) | more than 12 years ago | (#183342)

If you accept the incorrect usage of "open source" to mean "GPL'd code" then this statement makes perfect sense.

I presume that what Ballmer meant to say was "The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds GPL'd work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody."

This is an understandable viewpoint. GPL'd code is not accessable to everybody. It is only accessable to developers who are willing to release their code under the GPL license which excludes large portions of the community. Government-funded GPL code is inaccessable to the Apache Foundation, it's inaccessable to the OpenBSD developers, and it's inaccessable to any commercial developers who are working on closed-source products.

If tax dollars are funding a project, then the results of that development should be available to everyone and not just people who use one particular license. This is the rationale behind the laws which prevent the government from enjoying a copyright on the data it produces.

Government code should be public domain, not placed under a restrictive license like the GPL.

Outlook Express (4)

mattkime (8466) | more than 12 years ago | (#183349)

I heard you can't get catch cancer from computers unless you have Microsoft Outlook installed.

do what now? (1)

Si (9816) | more than 12 years ago | (#183359)

Q: The new software also allows a user to install it only twice. You have recently cracked down on corporate piracy and large-scale pirating operations. Are home users next?

So...when XP crashes, taking your system partition with it, and the (previous) remedy was to re-install, you can only do this twice? then what? buy another copy?

Maybe MicroShaft are trying to imply the new software will crash fewer than twice. Would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.



Re:Linux is a cancer of teenage elitism (1)

tuffy (10202) | more than 12 years ago | (#183361)

Yeah. We all know teenagers have never been elitist until Linux came along...

This is like listening to Saddam Hussein's rants (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 12 years ago | (#183362)

My respect for this individual is heading deeper and deeper into negative territory.

FUD works with whispers and subtle calimnies.

This guy is going at it hammer and tongs and starting to look like his grip on reality is slipping.

They will try to keep the world on the x86 long past the point where it can be demonstrated that security on that platform is lousy because they are too inept to move off of it and the alternative it oblivion for M$.

A Happy Plague (2)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 12 years ago | (#183364)

[magnanimous with Battle Hymn of the Republic swelling in the background] Linux is a Cancer of Liberty, and a Plague of Innovation. It is a blight on the harvest of the proprietary dicatatorship that has held the World under it's soiled foot with dirty tricks and corporate power plays. Steve Ballmer will be the first guy against the wall when the revoloution comes...(well maybe not that last part ^_^)[/magnanimous]

Which license, Mr. Ballmer (2)

grub (11606) | more than 12 years ago | (#183368)

"The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works."

Dear Mr. Ballmer,

The Linux license is not the be-all, end-all for open source licenses. Using one large brush to paint all open source as "cancer" is just more Microsoft FUD

You have some BSD code in some of your products and gladly adhere to the BSD license, don't you?

grub

Only a slight twist on the truth... (5)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 12 years ago | (#183372)

The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody. Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works

Open source is not available to commercial companies. Hmm. Linux is Open Source right? I use Linux here at work - for a commercial company.

The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. Maybe I read the GPL incorrectly, but, um... Isn't that the point? (On another note, our company uses Linux, but releases closed-source binarys of our primary product. No problems with that!)

Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. Again, thats rather the point, but it does not "attach" itself to everything it touches, Q3A is not GPL'ed but it runs on Linux just fine.

But then who am I kidding right? This is Slashdot. We all know this (Apart from the newbies and trolls). I am just preaching to the Choir. What I am interested in is the exact gist of these comments. What is Balmer trying to accomplish here?

We know he mentions competition (to keep the Justice Dept. off of his back) and Microsoft is consistantly trying to poison the GPL, but not Linux... I think MS is more afraid of the GPL than anything else, if they can disparage the GPL, they can (they believe) damage the free software movement. I don't think that they will be sucessful, but they will through this strategy keep Linux off of the desktop (but not servers) for some time to come. (At this stage, IMO Linux is not ready for the mainstream desktop user, and maybe it never will be, thats not a bad thing though.)

Anyone else have a take on what they think Microsoft is up to?

This is the best they can do? (1)

aerobee (15844) | more than 12 years ago | (#183389)

Typical m$ fud. The importance here is to un derstand the context in which it's being stated. In short, linux is good as competition. (It that all it is? I think not.) And Linux is bad because it ends intellectual property 'rights' (assumably bad for the software industry-the microsoft juggernaut) But what they fail to argue is what the effect is on the overall economy or the world community in general. They or anyone else cannot assume that 'intellectual property' is universally good or bad. That has yet to be determined.

If M$ really wants to engage in true, substantive debate, then do so, but let's not submit spin-doctored meaningless drivel as words of wisdom.

GPL, not Linux (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 12 years ago | (#183390)


I do regard it as better to have a 'cancer' that makes everything public and modifiable than the alternative 'cancer' which swallows up and prevents innovation by others.

Take back innovation (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 12 years ago | (#183391)

I think we should fight to reclaim the word "innovation" from Microsoft FUD campaign. After all, we all know that what is really meant is that Microsofts right to innovate in their proprietary fashion is being stifled by the GPL, whereas standard MS licenses and non open Source policies stifle everyone else's right to innovate.

MS should use another word - suggestions anyone ?

He's got a point. (2)

cygnus (17101) | more than 12 years ago | (#183406)

While the term 'cancer' is overblown, why should the government be funding projects that eliminate the opportunity for companies to sell their products? That's not fair. The companies pay taxes, too.

Not that those products shouldn't exist. Just that the government that represents those companies shouldn't be undermining them.

sniff sniff (1)

cruelworld (21187) | more than 12 years ago | (#183418)

Is that fear I smell?

Well, the CEO is supposed to say things like that (5)

scotpurl (28825) | more than 12 years ago | (#183435)

Let's take a look around at the other big companies. Oracle has an egomaniac for a CEO. Apple, yeah, ditto for their CEO (or whaver Jobs' title is these days), whom it's apparently not safe to be with in an elevator.

The companies that have the biggest following of loyalist fans also have these sort of banana-republic dictator personalities running the company. In order to gain new territory, you sometimes have to rally the troops (employees) and your allies (investors) by making bold, outrageous statements. Usually it's limited to something like, "we're going to make a lot of money this year," or "our new product is The Next Big Thing."

CEO's are really politicians. And like everyone in power, they know a little secret: the masses don't want to hear the truth. People enjoy being lied to, and deluded, and misled. There's so much evil, selfishness, and contempt in the world that the masses don't want to hear it. An investor doesn't want to hear that another stock they own is going to tank. They want to hear that their stocks have all gone bullish. Customers don't want to know that they've purchased another mediocre product. They want to beleive that it will actually work as advertised, and cure the common cold.

Repeat after me. It's propoganda. It's not the truth.

Linux shifts the economy from product-based to service based (since the product is free + your time). IBM sells services, and they like Linux. Microsoft sells products, and feels their bottom line is being threatened. They have a right to make a product, and people have a right to buy, or not to buy, their product.

Re:Let's not jump to hasty conclusions (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 12 years ago | (#183452)

Umm... exactly why should a company that tries to falsify evidence in court be given any form of benefit of the doubt?

Eventually, if you are consistent enough in your constant unethical behaviour, you forfeit that benefit.

I dont think that Microsoft as a corporation any longer has any kind of concept of right or wrong or truth or lies. The corporate mindset is that of a severely spoiled child.

heh (5)

GoNINzo (32266) | more than 12 years ago | (#183453)

Just remind him what Denis Leary said...

No cure for cancer.

--
Gonzo Granzeau

Cancer and a cure (1)

Tomy (34647) | more than 12 years ago | (#183463)

2 [Latin, crab, cancer] a : a malignant tumor of potentially unlimited growth that expands locally by invasion and systemically by metastasis b : an abnormal bodily state marked by such tumors

3 : something evil or malignant that spreads destructively.

In the nineties when irrational business types were replacing stable and powerful UNIX workstations with unreliable and sickly PCs running windows, I came to the conclusion that windows was indeed a cancer. Then a healer (rms) came along and wrote out a prescription (the GPL).

I've never felt better.

He's no John Madden (3)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 12 years ago | (#183482)

Hey, there are meatheads in the world who don't know when to shut up and then there are those who don't know when to shut up and really make asses out of themselves, only they don't stop and it gets kind of funny actually, and they sense this, and go further, but now it's just clowning and pretty soon it won't be funny any more so they stop.

Well, I guess except for the funny part, maybe Ballmer is a John Madden.

The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody. Open source is not available to commercial companies.

Uh... Riiiight. So, er, that's why we need to fund closed source work that's not available to anyone? Or else, you mean that you support government funding for the BSDs?

Seriously, the two-install thing is going to be a MAJOR hassle for a lot of folks. Sure rules out XP for scientists in Antarctica. "What do you mean you don't have a phone? Can't you go over to your friend's house?" As well as for students, people testing it, etc, etc, etc. Nice way to shoot yourselves in the foot, losers. I can't wait to answer the calls from relatives looking for computer support. "You can't? Twice? That's because they FUCKED you! What can you do? Throw it out."

Boss of nothin. Big deal.
Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

Re:Real Life imitates the Internet (2)

befletch (42204) | more than 12 years ago | (#183489)

Haven't we learned not to feed trolls? I hope that the Free Software luminaries give this guy the response he deserves this time: none at all.

By stooping to his level, we're playing their game.

If nobody responds to Microsoft's PR, then Microsoft's PR will define the terms of engagement. No, you don't want Free Software luminaries frothing at the mouth, but I think it is perfectly fair to say that the term, "cancerous" is probably more correctly applied to Microsoft's acknowledged policy of, "embrace and extend." Just say it calmly, rationally, and with decent grammar.

License issues (3)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#183496)

. The way the license[gpl] is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source

That's pretty much what Mundie said. Seems that that's the Company Line. And I think RMS, O'Reilly, et. al. addressed that pretty well.

Sad (4)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 12 years ago | (#183498)

Clever set up. First he complains that people don't respect Intellectual property enough and need reminding. Then he whinges about his (totally false) lie that open source makes all other software open source due to Intellectual property issues.

Nice example of telling a bare faced lie for spin purposes though, pretending that he does not understand there are -different- types of open source licence. Almost makes me believe he realli -is- stupid.

EZ

It's the truth (1)

cyberdemo (49375) | more than 12 years ago | (#183502)

I know how people on this weblog will feel, but Mr. Ballmer speaks the truth in a direct and concise way. Linux tries to attach itself to everything out there, thanks to the virotic nature of the GPL that we all know about.

Mr. Ballmer makes good points regarding software piracy too. Microsoft is giving us a great opportunity of watching our legal situation by taking care of the piracy monitoring herself.

Now, the strongest point IMHO: Internet Explorer. It is the best, really. Coming bundled in the OS is nothing but a commodity for us. Can you imagine still having to run the bloated Netscape 6 or Mozilla [mozilla.org] ? Windows and IE run better on old hardware than anything else. And that's a proven fact. Which leads us to that same old question: will open source software ever be as fast as proprietary but user-concerned software? I seriously doubt so.

So I say, listen to wise people like Steve Ballmer. Give your MS bashing a break.

--

Real Life imitates the Internet (4)

underwhelm (53409) | more than 12 years ago | (#183508)

Haven't we learned not to feed trolls? I hope that the Free Software luminaries give this guy the response he deserves this time: none at all.

By stooping to his level, we're playing their game. It is obvious to me, at least, that when you play Microsoft's game, they win. Instead, the good team should be pondering a way to force Microsoft to play a different PR game--probably one that starts off with "we don't think his ideas merit a response. He is clearly another empty mind pursuing another of Microsoft's intense PR campaigns that sound newsworthy but don't move forward the debate over intellectual property in this country one iota. We'll let our software do the talking."

Re:Why Linux Will Continue to Fail (1)

bubbha (61990) | more than 12 years ago | (#183515)

Filling out property sheets is not programming. Get a real job. Who woke this guy up anyway?

Interesting philosophy... (5)

miguelitof (67742) | more than 12 years ago | (#183524)

...that corporations have some type of right to modify someone else's software and then sell the results. I still don't understand the argument. "Well, I want to be able to use your code, but then sell what I've created." Why not just start from scratch?

have to include this beaut.... (1)

ksuhr (68961) | more than 12 years ago | (#183527)

Not really any need to comment on this article, he does it all himself:

"...The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody..."

Quick question... (3)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 12 years ago | (#183529)


What is the Chicago Sun Times Web site running?

Here is the answer:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Netscape-Enterprise/3.6
Date: Fri, 01 Jun 2001 17:05:09 GMT
Content-type: text/html
Connection: close

Seems like Mr Ballmer & M$ still have a little work to do... =)

I can see what he means, but... (1)

jmccay (70985) | more than 12 years ago | (#183531)

I also don't think it is a bad thing. Linux can go to any platform someone has an itch to place it on. We've seen linux on a watch, the Play Station, and TiVo is rumored to use it. Linux can go almost anywhere because the source code is open and everyone if free to port it, change it, or modify it how ever they want. In this way, Linux can and does grow like a cancer cell, and I bet Microsoft is scarted because they can't match that grow. In that same light, other industries have not been so willing to attach themselves to Microsoft's Operating systems as they have Linux (and oter open *nix OSes).
I think Mr. Ballmer may have just opened is mouth and swallowed his foot.

Hello, Microsoft?!?!?! (2)

technos (73414) | more than 12 years ago | (#183533)

I know at least the guys in Microsoft's Legal department read /., so I'm going to give this a shot.

Why are you letting him spout off like this? He looks like an idiot, and makes the rest of Microsoft look the same.

How is this good for your stock price? Let alone when he gets going about Sun again, and Scott has to call in the sharks again. How is increasing your expenditure because of Ballmer good for the shareholders?

Cancer Metaphor (3)

rkent (73434) | more than 12 years ago | (#183534)

Hm. "Cancer" is really just the word for a syndrome in which a patch of mutant cells gets bigger and bigger and more bloated until it chokes off an otherwise healthy system.

Replace "cells" with "code" and this metaphor seems much more applicable to Windows than Linux. Especially considering that no one's quite sure HOW cancer works on the inside, just that it keeps getting bigger and badder.

---

Re:Let's not jump to hasty conclusions (5)

mikej (84735) | more than 12 years ago | (#183544)

Q: Do you view Linux and the open-source movement as a threat to Microsoft?

A: Yeah. It's good competition. It will force us to be innovative. It will force us to justify the prices and value that we deliver. And that's only healthy. The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody. Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works.


I gave him the benefit of the doubt as well, and was rewarded with this :) He's saying that any company that uses open source software must give away all of their software, which is true only as long as "use" means "incorporate source code from". He's implying that anybody using linux to run a print server or somesuch is going to be forced to give away every line of code they've ever written. It's very well worded, extremely effective, and completely dishonest.

Re:Let's not jump to hasty conclusions (5)

MillMan (85400) | more than 12 years ago | (#183548)

A: Yeah. It's good competition. It will force us to be innovative. It will force us to justify the prices and value that we deliver. And that's only healthy. The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody. Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works.

It doesn't look that way. He's referring to how the GPL works, so in Microsoft's view he's correct. If you think open source is a good thing, however, his argument doesn't really hold.

I don't know where this "government funded research" thing comes from...maybe unix back in the 60's? That's an incredibly arrogant statement coming from an executive at a big corporation anyway. Look at how much nearly free research companies get by giving a few bucks (relatively speaking) to Universities. The public doesn't see any of the return on that money....is that fair?

You know, normally I don't get worked up by whatever crap Microsoft exec's are currently spewing out, but this really bugs me from a philosophical standpoint. For me they are really starting to represent everything that can go wrong with capitalism in the information age.

Maybe they really ARE that terrified of linux, even on the desktop where it isn't currently much of a threat. No one to sue, buy, or threaten. Thats tough for a modern day corporation to deal with.

Famous Chicago Tech? (1)

NetFusion (86828) | more than 12 years ago | (#183550)

"More seriously, in Chicago we do seem to have an inferiority complex about our place in the tech world. Rankings frequently put us toward the bottom among major cities in terms of our tech presence."

Only one off the top of my head was Bungie and they were assimilated by the Borg and whisked to Seattle.

Hey... it IS a cancer! (1)

soboroff (91667) | more than 12 years ago | (#183563)

With every 'apt-get update; apt-get upgrade' it just gets bigger and bigger.

Thank heavens 'rm' is there for necessary radiation therapy, but I still have these 'dpkg --purge' situations.

Re:He's got a point. (1)

BoyPlankton (93817) | more than 12 years ago | (#183564)

Using that logic, then the government shouldn't buy software either. Buying software from one company inherently undermines the ability of another company to do business. The way you buy into open source is you support it.

relations.. (2)

T.Hobbes (101603) | more than 12 years ago | (#183579)

Linux:Cancer as Windows:Germ Warfare

Linus has,in fact,grown,and explosively-JonKatz

if linux is a cancer, then windows is HIV. (1)

keithmoore (106078) | more than 12 years ago | (#183583)

the good news is, windows is curable.
we just need a massive windows-awareness
education campaign.

One part I like (5)

rograndom (112079) | more than 12 years ago | (#183593)

It's hard to find a computer that doesn't run a Microsoft product, particularly in Chicago. Microsoft's Chicago-based Midwest district office, which covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin...

Then, a little later the interviewer uses this statement in a question:

in Chicago we do seem to have an inferiority complex about our place in the tech world. Rankings frequently put us toward the bottom among major cities in terms of our tech presence.

draw your own conclusions. :-)


--
andy j.

Slow news day? (2)

icqqm (132707) | more than 12 years ago | (#183625)

You're telling me that a Microsoft executive doesn't like open source software, particularly linux? My God, what is the world coming to? I mean, come on, did Ballmer really say anything surprising here? We'll never convince the Microsofties that they should abandon themselves, we should convince the world to abandon the Microsofties. If Ballmer chooses not to listen to RMS etc. and their explanations of the GNU GPL, so be it.

From the interview (4)

cjpez (148000) | more than 12 years ago | (#183657)

"The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody."
Ur?

Ballmer drank the free coffee (4)

sdprenzl (149571) | more than 12 years ago | (#183659)

When I worked at MS ('94-'95) I was told in a bathroom in a whisper not to drink the free house coffee. Otherwise I'd wind up like Steve Ballmer: a babbling, brain damaged moron! Nasty stuff!!

Move along, there's nothing to see here... (3)

Spoing (152917) | more than 12 years ago | (#183663)

Morbid fascination with the bizzare. That's what these articles are, nothing more. It's a waste of time to pay much attention to what the talking heads at Microsoft say.

If I'm interested at all, it's in what they do, not what they say.

Steve Ballmer's personal notes: (1)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 12 years ago | (#183672)

Following FUD provided by MicroScone's

A: Yeah. It's good competition. It will force us to be innovative. It will force us to justify the prices and value that we deliver.

Note: Remember to raise prices when we get back to the office, I cant believe they are eating out of our hands.

And that's only healthy. The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody. Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works.

Note: Their scared shitless now, no way they will allow Linux in their offices. Is this is the best FUD we could come up with? Remember to have a meeting with bill when we get back. We got to come up with better lines than this. Its getting old.


Rethinking my position... (1)

TTop (160446) | more than 12 years ago | (#183673)

Personally, I've never been a big fan of cancer -- but this really makes me reconsider.

Damn... (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 12 years ago | (#183674)

Time was, it was actually fun to flame Microsoft for inane, stupid comments, policies, and products. Lately, though, they've just been making it too easy.

I mean, come on: my dog could flame that piece. Where's the challenge?

Wow, this must be some kind of world record (1)

electricmonk (169355) | more than 12 years ago | (#183679)

Two huge trolls posted on the front page consecutively? Either someone with a sense of humor hacked Slashdot, or the authors have been smoking crack.

--

It's official.... (2)

plastickiwi (170800) | more than 12 years ago | (#183681)

Spreading the "Linux destroys intellectual property" argument is now official Microsoft policy. First Mundie, now Ballmer, each reading from the same script.

If anyone had doubts that MS is taking Linux seriously, let him now reconsider.

Bill Gates is intensely aware of the media attention MS commands, and he uses it with great care. He knows that anything an MS spokesman talks about publicly will get a lot of attention very fast; accordingly, he doesn't dignify anything that doesn't threaten him with criticism. It's when he's worried about competition, or maneuvering to take possession of a market niche, that we see the response typified by Ballmer and Mundie's recent outings: careful, meticulous repetition of catchy buzz phrases developed by MS marketing and public relations personnel.

Even this /. story, and my response to it, serves Big Bill's purpose. He's got the community buzzing, and what the media (and end users, and management) hears is "Linux...cancer...destroys intellectual property...."

I suppose the Linux community should feel honored to be elevated to the exalted status of Oracle, Apple, Stak Electronics and all the other entities MS has found worrisome enough to target with custom FUD.

Idea for the government to do to Steve Ballmer (1)

Maddog_Delphi97 (173780) | more than 12 years ago | (#183692)

Put an electronic dog collar around Steve Ballmar's neck.. and if he does something wrong, ZAP THE SONUVABITCH!! "Just a reminder that you're doing something wrong..."

So ... (1)

SnapperHead (178050) | more than 12 years ago | (#183695)

Does that mean that Microsoft is the "Flesh eating" virus ?
until (succeed) try { again(); }

Re:Is it just me? (1)

SnapperHead (178050) | more than 12 years ago | (#183696)

Thats a very good point. OS/2 and BeOS shouldn't be on that list. There are what 2 or 3 users of both ?


until (succeed) try { again(); }

Freedom as a cancer (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#183702)

Let it said that unlimited freedom with no restrictions and no responsibilies and no consequences is as destructive as unlimited restrictionas. These are two sides of the same coin.

More and more often little thoughts come into my mind, things like MS is to the Net (not .NET) as Ebola is to a Human. With the rising security issues raised by Gibson of GRC Research [slashdot.org] , this is starting to become realistic.

Ms is becoming the thing they say they are not. Because MS has adopted the position a that anyone else's freedom is evil. That is the voice of a fascist.

Maybe not using the words of a fascist, but certainly, in the heart.

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

He's right! (2)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 12 years ago | (#183705)

I'd prefer to differ though.

Let's call Linux a tumor in the IT world (actually he once again confuses the GPL with Linux, but what the hell; let it stand for the sake of the analogy). Sure as hell it's a rotten bad tumor from the evil empires' perspective.

Personally I actually believe it's a benevolent tumor. At least, since I use it as my primary OS, my computer pains are more or less gone.

innovative (1)

superdk (184900) | more than 12 years ago | (#183707)

There are a lot of innovative users in the Chicago area, which is exciting.

innovative!! it's their generic term for 'microsoft approved'
these MS marketing guys need a thesauraus(sp?)

Re:Let's not jump to hasty conclusions (2)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 12 years ago | (#183712)


Did you even read the interview, stupid? The context in which Ballmer said "Linux is a cancer" is RIGHT THERE for you to evaluate.

Re:Let's not jump to hasty conclusions (2)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 12 years ago | (#183713)

Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source.

This may be well-worded, but is still completely false. Even disregarding the ambiguous definition of what it means to 'use' software, what Ballmer is saying by 'you have to make the rest of your software open source' is that if you use open source software for project A, but not projects B or C, you have to make all of projects A, B, and C open source.

There is not a single software license I can think of for which such a claim holds true. Certainly not GPL.

Doublespeak! Doublespeak! FUD! (5)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 12 years ago | (#183720)

My favorite quote has got to be:
The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody.

Ballmer justifies this belief by saying that "open source software is not available to companies." The hell it isn't! They can look at the source (and even use it!) just like anyone else can! They just can't take GPL'd code and add their own stuff to it without sharing those additions.

What a bunch of bull.

I have the right to screw up! (2)

enigmatic anomaly (192819) | more than 12 years ago | (#183721)

I really do not appreciate Microsoft making sure I know where the line and making sure I don't cross it. I believe that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes and learn from them. If that mistake is software piracy, and a jail term is what it takes to learn from a mistake then so be it, but I don't appreciate being preemptively spanked.

If Microsoft becomes humanities moral compass, and then I would be worried about which direction it's pointing.

As for the cancer comments, that is a little bit of an over simplification of the license as I am sure most of the community is aware. If you develop a piece of software FROM open source code, then yes the license does 'infect' your product, but just because you are developing for the big bad "Linux" doesn't sell your intellectual soul to the devil (and he works in Redmond.)


Geoffrey Cameron Peart
McMaster Software Engineering

Help me, please! (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 12 years ago | (#183731)

We are trying to help customers understand when they are crossing the line by putting some bumps in the road so they can't do the wrong thing.

We're from Microsoft and we're here to help you! nyuk nyuk nyuk

(At least he didn't say "open sauce"...)

--Mike

why doesn't this guy fall down more? (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 12 years ago | (#183743)

either from his overbalanced big head or the apparent lack of any cognitive proprioreception of the physical world around him?

talk about a reality distortion field. this creep makes steve jobs look like a monk.

this is the borg calling the collective "black".

Government Aid (1)

Lechter (205925) | more than 12 years ago | (#183757)

It's interesting that Balmer feels that the government shouldn't support Open Source development "because it isn't available to commercial companies."

I would argue that the government should specifically support open source because it's available to everybody, as long as they don't make a profit on it. After all it's the government's business to help its tax payers, not individual corporations. Besides since most government agencies are standardized on Windows platforms, Microsoft is already getting more "government support" money than the open source community ever has.

Cancer, huh? (1)

bitva (206067) | more than 12 years ago | (#183758)

Well if Linux is a "cancer", does that mean I'm a cancer cell?

I'd rather be considered life threatening than a sheep.

More insight to Microsofties think... (4)

TOTKChief (210168) | more than 12 years ago | (#183765)

It's really interesting to watch how Microsoft higher-ups use words. It's almost as much as watching politicians of any stripe, but specifically American politicians in the two major parties, snipe at each other with shadings of words.

Examplia gratis:

The inclusion of Internet Explorer with Windows has been absolutely great ... for innovation in the software industry.

Note: The ellipsis used is directly from the original article; I'm curious to know what was left out!

If I could completely ignore the ellipsis--though I can't--you'd get to thinking that "innovation in the software industry" == "whatever improves M$FT's bottom line". The comments about competition are similar--they like competition that they can beat the snot out of, not that pushes a better product.

The use of the cancer thing is interesting...M$FT is shifting its attack from the license to the OS, while noting that the OS is licensed in a matter that makes it "a cancer". It's a carefully crafted use of hyperbole, and it'll hit home.

But I think it'll end up being a boomerang strike. I continue to expect back-end systems to merge to modern *nix systems, including Linux and the *BSD's. I think that's good from an overall push-the-ends-of-the-free/open-movements, and probably good for business in the long run, too.

My response to microsoft (1)

sfraggle (212671) | more than 12 years ago | (#183768)

Score: -1, Flamebait

Did I read this correctly? (1)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 12 years ago | (#183781)

Microsoft's Chicago-based Midwest district office, which covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, is the tech giant's biggest moneymaker in the country, with more than 500 customers generating $500 million in revenue annually for Microsoft.

500 customers? Biggest moneymaker? That's 1 million in revenue per customer! Talking about expensive software!

Where's It All Happening (1)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 12 years ago | (#183782)

Ballmer:
... Other than Silicon Valley, I think it's hard to point to any one place and say, "That's where it's all happening."

I would suppose that the reason you can't point to a place other than Silicon Valley where it's all happening is because Silicon Valley is where it's all happening!

Re:So ... (1)

tijnbraun (226978) | more than 12 years ago | (#183788)

You probably mean Staphylococcus aureus, a Gram-positive bacterium (so it's not a virus), which can cause severe skin lesions and wound infections, and sometimes more internal diseases... Don't know if microsoft belongs to this genus.

Re:If Linux is a Cancer (3)

dvNull (235982) | more than 12 years ago | (#183799)

No it isnt ..

If Linux is cancer then Microsoft is Herpes ..


Just a reminder to all :

Re:If Linux is a Cancer (2)

mikethegeek (257172) | more than 12 years ago | (#183820)

"If Linux is cancer then Microsoft is Herpes"

Actually, if we're talking diseases here, Microsoft is AIDS. Why? Once you contract AIDS there is nothing for it but expensive treatements (upgrades), while it inevitably destroys your immune system (erodes security) until you (your data) eventually die.

Government funding (1)

eXtro (258933) | more than 12 years ago | (#183824)

Q: Do you view Linux and the open-source movement as a threat to Microsoft? A: Yeah. It's good competition. It will force us to be innovative. It will force us to justify the prices and value that we deliver. And that's only healthy. The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody. Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works

Re:Government funding (1)

eXtro (258933) | more than 12 years ago | (#183825)

Sorry about that, I hit submit instead of preview.

Government funds closed-source work too, Balmer doesn't seem to have a problem with that however. Yet in the case of closed source work only the copywrite holder has any access to it, unless they agree on a fee.

This is really an exact parallel with the Open Source movement. Nobody has access to it unless they agree to the fee. The fee in this case isn't monetary, its an agreement to abide by the licensing terms. All companies have access to open source software. The cost of making use of it may be deemed too high by some companies, i.e., they can't agree to the licensing terms.

Contrast this to Microsoft however, only companies with very deep pockets have access to the software. There is a financial step function which must be overcome in order to get the Windows source code. On TOP of that there are licensing restrictions as well.

Public Domain (1)

Husaria (262766) | more than 12 years ago | (#183833)

"If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works."

Linus can do whatever he pleases with Linux. Ballmer is just jealous because there's a better OS than WinBlowz out there. Granted, Mozilla needs work and it doesnt have all the games you want to play on it, but it is a good OS, stable fast. I've had Mandrake since March and have had one crash, while WinMe crashed on me just this morning!
I love how he's kissing Gates' ass in the article.
But Linux being a cancer? What about MS being a cancer to competition?

Public domain vs. free software (1)

gentlewizard (300741) | more than 12 years ago | (#183839)

I thought the most important quote of the piece was:
"If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain."

Ballmer is right to make the distinction between "free" software in the RMS sense, and public domain software which is free for anyone to use in any way, including embedding in a commercial product. While Free Software attempts to protect its creators by requiring that it only be used in other Free Software, public domain works are those whose intellectual property claims have expired and whose use is therefore unregulated.

Perhaps Free Software licenses should contain a time expiration like a patent or copyright, after which time they would become public domain works.

This is scary stuff... (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 12 years ago | (#183841)

I can see people a couple of years before "1984" (the book) buying into things like "protection of intellectual property", "educating the consumer", "simplyfing licenses by force". He talks as if we, the consumers, are but mere babes in the woods, and need our hands held to push the ON button. Soon, we can expect smart client monitors (ala the Paperclip) whenever we have to plug into Hailstorm/Passport/whatever just to check up on the news or send an email.

Slowly the noose is tightening....

This is funny too... (2)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 12 years ago | (#183843)

Balmer replying to a question in the article: We are trying to simplify our licensing practices in many ways. We are clearly providing some incentive to upgrade more regularly. Your better customers get a better price. An analysis we've done, 80 percent of our customers are going to see the same or lesser prices, and 20 percent are going to see very small to somewhat larger increases.

And I'll bet that 20% is the big business customer's (where all the money is really made by M$), and they'll be forking out 80% of the profits M$ makes on .NET. So average Joe will say, wow!, look at what great savings this is WinXP/OfficeXP is while the business customer's are forced to waste even more money on software. That's not innovative, that's extortionist.

If Linux is a Cancer (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 12 years ago | (#183848)

Then Microsoft is Biological Warfare.

--Blair

Linux is a cancer (5)

modernz (308899) | more than 12 years ago | (#183853)

Linux is a cancer that is eating away at M$ profit margins.

Long live to innovative Joe the User! (1)

romanski (311971) | more than 12 years ago | (#183883)

There are a lot of innovative users in the Chicago...

Linux is Like Cancer? (1)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 12 years ago | (#183885)

Well, Linux is about freedom of knowledge. It's the liberty [simpson.com] . As a nature of humans on earth, not borg, we must defend it to the very last drip of our blood. Thus, we don't want others to steal it and seize it for their own. We know that M$ always use this dirty strategy is used by Microsoft as a part of its plot in world domination. GNU/Linux/OSS are immune to this so-called "embrace-and-extend" thing. No wonder this Balmer guy (or any M$ cohort) tries dissing Linux in every event.

P.S.: Linux does help in solving cancer [bcgsc.bc.ca] . And how 'bout Microsoft? Read here [bbspot.com] muhahaha...

Is it just me? (1)

loydcc (325726) | more than 12 years ago | (#183894)

Am I the only person who thinks Microsoft is trying to rile up the open source community to show that there is competetion in the Operating System market.

"Why no Mr Congressman, Windows is not the only operating system. There's MacOS and Linux and Unix and BeOS and OS/2 Warp. There's plenty of Operating System competetion. We're not a big bad ol' monopoly..."

Leave us alone (1)

famazza (398147) | more than 12 years ago | (#183899)

To Microsoft guys tha hate Free-software guys (us):

Please, as I've asked before, leave us alone. Ok, we don't like windows, and we prefer a better OS, but most of us accept that there are people that want to make money by limitating people freedom.

Look at us, we are just a bunch of nerds that doesn't have nothing to do but work in a OS that normal users can't use. All you have to do is take care of your dear customers that can't use linux.

Keep your windows beautiful, and nice, easy to use, and with lots of automatic things. I'll tell you something, most of us hate this automatic stuff, so, let us with our difficult-to-leanr OS, and keep doing your job with your final user.

You keep trying and trying to "kill" our OS, by saying horrible things about it. If you want to talk about this, we can put both OS side by side, and watch technical details, I bet that any Distro-Co. will be very pleased to do this.

But if you try to compare your graphical interface, with ours. I bet that noone will show up. Yeah, that's right, we are not as good as you in User Interface.

Whatever, the point is. LEAVE US ALONE! And stop acting like you do. IMHO linux is technical superior, but you are the market leader, not us. And you deserve it, you have the best interface.


Don't worry, I'm too sad [to|every]day

ballmer is the devil (1)

schmar (410995) | more than 12 years ago | (#183905)

i know i should let it piss me off but the guy sounds like the bush administration people - just out and out bald face lies and mistruths. it would be so refreshing to have more agressive and informed reporters out there who would throw such softball questions.

Re:heh (2)

glenkim (412499) | more than 12 years ago | (#183908)

We should shave our heads, as afflicted cancer victims.

Artistic blur (1)

jay42 (413000) | more than 12 years ago | (#183910)

Just the mandatory GPL vs open-source stuff:

See how Microsoft tries to mix all the concepts:

Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source.

What ?

* Open source is not GPL: you can use open source (as Microsoft does with BSD code) without open sourcing your sotfware.

* Even with the GPL, you dont make "the rest of your software" open source but only derivatives (with the usual no-so-clear line between derivatives and linked s/w). The phrase really reads as: "if we make only one open-sourced software, we will have to give all our softwares for free (windows xxx, office and others)".

Their strategy (FUD on the whole open-source software) seems to be not only recurrent but more and more disinformative than ever (see Allchin's statements...)

The worst part is that most people believe them without checking their statements :-(

heh. (1)

laxny (413953) | more than 12 years ago | (#183911)

Well it just seems that M$ wants more people out there so that they don't look like a monopoly. Soon enough they will just buy them up.

so how long... (1)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 12 years ago | (#183915)

How long will it be before someone turns RMS loose on Ballmer as well? ;)

Microsoft knows best (1)

Tachys (445363) | more than 12 years ago | (#183924)

help customers understand when they are crossing the line . . . so they can't do the wrong thing.

So downloading a song I don't own is copyright infrigement!?!

Gee.... had no idea

This word (4)

jhill (446614) | more than 12 years ago | (#183925)

To Microsoft: This word you use...Innovative...I do not think it means what you think it means.

A cancer to everything it touches?! (3)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 12 years ago | (#183943)

Oh no, that means my entire computer has become Open Source! Since I dual-boot doesn't that mean that my installed Windows 98 SE has become open source as well?

I mean I have had Linux "touch" some Windows files... Hmm... Does anyone know how to perform Chemotherapy on a hard drive?

------------

Does this mean that MS will be effected, too? (1)

Achilleas (454421) | more than 12 years ago | (#183949)

Since cancer affects all the parts of the body (eventually), does this mean that MS will be affected by open source, too? :-)

Install XP by October? (1)

Grim Trigger (455109) | more than 12 years ago | (#183951)

Exactly what licencing policy is forcing customers to upgrade to XP by october? The article doesn't really elaborate on that.

Are they going to hike up the price of an upgrade after that time?

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