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Mandriva's Open Letter To Steve Ballmer

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the should-have-denied-bill's-visa dept.

Mandriva 357

An anonymous reader writes "An entry on the Mandriva Blog, written by Mandriva CEO François Bancilhon, says that the Nigerian government, after ordering thousands of Classmate PCs with Mandriva Linux installed, has suddenly decided that they will instead install Windows. They will pay for the pre-loaded Mandriva Linux on the low-cost computing devices intended for children in the developing world, but immmediately replace the OS. The blog doesn't quite use the 'B' word but does suggest that this was not a decision that the Nigerian government made on its own."

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excuse my stupidity (5, Interesting)

tritonman (998572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21195943)

but what is the "B" word? Blackmail?

Re:excuse my stupidity (4, Interesting)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21195969)

My question too. Bribe? Buy-off?

Re:excuse my stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196161)

Business.

Re:excuse my stupidity (3, Informative)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196211)

Considering that Microsoft paid off Panasonic to drop Blu-Ray [dailysellout.com] (despite Blu-Ray being ahead in sales of players and media), I'd suggest the B word is "Buy-Off".

(Of course, MS denies that they paid Panasonic anything, but as far as I know the NY Times is sticking to it's story. Maybe it's semantics - say a personal check from Gates is not the same as a payment from Microsoft...)

What version of Windows? If it's XP, well, the jokes on Nigeria. If it's Vista, then that's just cruel and unusual punishment.

Re:excuse my stupidity (1, Redundant)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 6 years ago | (#21195973)

It's Gates, so it's BRIBE> :)

Re:excuse my stupidity (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21195975)

Bribery.

Re:excuse my stupidity (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21195985)

Bevelopers, bevelopers, bevelopers!

Re:excuse my stupidity (2, Informative)

darkcirc (103212) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196037)

Bribe :-)

Re:excuse my stupidity (1)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196111)

No, not blackmail, and NO not bribery, but its a word that is obviously a synonym... BALLMER!

Legitimate question (3, Insightful)

aiwarrior (1030802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196137)

Quote:but what is the "B" word? Blackmail?

I do not have mod points but the parent's question is legitimate.
Actually articles that got phrases like "b,c,etc words" should not get to the front page. Besides there being hundreds of words that start with b, it's just bad journalism to write in such a childish way. If you don't want to say the word because it's rude or inappropriate there are most likely synonyms in the English language.
I'm not an english native speaker and i can find a lot of meanings for "b word".

Mod parent underrated

Hugs and kisses

Re:Legitimate question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196173)

but what is the "B" word? Blackmail?
Even worse... Ballmer...

(ducks)

Re:Legitimate question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196471)

Beeyotch. That's the word.

It's an old English word meaning "to bollycock" or "to buffleshard", which essentially mean to bully someone by means of political clout. You can find those is some very old dictionaries.

The editors should have been more sensitive to non-english speakers.

Re:excuse my stupidity (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196253)

Bully, Bribe, Ballmer, Bastard, Backpedal

Re:excuse my stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196389)

You forgot Blow-job, although I'm not saying who was on what end...

Re:excuse my stupidity (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196815)

They'll be learning a new one in Nigeria soon anyway.. BSOD!

Re:excuse my stupidity (1)

exspecto (513607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196703)

I took it to mean "Ballmer".

Re:excuse my stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196771)

Baggers and Naggers

Re:excuse my stupidity (1)

jmoriarty (179788) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196839)

Bonopoly?

Nigeria (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21195979)

I'm not even sure that Nigeria is a real country. I keep sending government officials there money - and they keep saying I'll be rich but it never happens. How do you bribe people like that?

Re:Nigeria (4, Funny)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196005)

Tell them that you COULD send them money but only if they were running just the right operating system...

Re:Nigeria (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196453)

and they keep saying I'll be rich but it never happens. How do you bribe people like that?


It takes a thief to catch a thief.

  i.e., Steve.
  i.e., said Nigerian corrupt officials.

Pretty bold. (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21195987)

There are those who are going to say that what Microsoft did isn't wrong and that it's 'just business'. If Bob's Concrete Construction paid the government $1 million to get the contract to build a new major freeway bypass, you guys would be calling it bribery. But when it's Microsoft paying the government to use Windows you call it business.

Someone with this viewpoint -- please explain this fanboy logic to me.

Re:Pretty bold. (0)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196029)

The above is a perfect example of a "straw man" argument.

Re:Pretty bold. (4, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196183)

The above is a perfect example of a "straw man" argument.

Please note: the appropriate way to make such a point here is:

The above is a perfect example of a "straw man [wikipedia.org] " argument.

Once that's mastered, you can move on to more advanced forms, such as:

The above [wikipedia.org] is a perfect example [wikipedia.org] of a "straw man" argument.

Re:Pretty bold. (0)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196187)

Do you know the details of the deal? I don't. I assume they made a more competative bid than Mandriva did.

What is it called when you offer to sell a product at a greatly reduced price, especially when there's another bidder? Is that bribery too? Or is it two companies competing for a bid/

Re:Pretty bold. (4, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196273)

Except they've already paid for the Mandriva to come pre-loaded. So Mandriva already put in the winning bid.
How can Microsoft undercut something that's already been paid for, apart from giving money per copy of Windows installed?
And when you end up giving money to a government to use something, yes, people do tend to use the word 'bribery' a little.

Re:Pretty bold. (-1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196337)

And if part of the 'bribe' is ifnorming Nigeria about all the software that -won't- run on Mandriva but will run on Windows? Maybe they've already GOT some of that software, and they don't want to have to spend money replacing it as well.

Or perhaps they already wanted Windows, but decided they couldn't afford it. The price doesn't even have to reach zero for that to be a good deal for them.

He's right: You don't know the full details. It's pointless to go off on a witchhunt without knowing what really happened. All we have is a letter (complete with typos... I assume they aren't grammar mistakes) from someone who is pissed off and ALSO doesn't have all the information.

Re:Pretty bold. (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196783)

And if part of the 'bribe' is ifnorming Nigeria about all the software that -won't- run on Mandriva but will run on Windows? Maybe they've already GOT some of that software, and they don't want to have to spend money replacing it as well.
Wait, they've already got Windows only software but no windows????

He's right: You don't know the full details. It's pointless to go off on a witchhunt without knowing what really happened.
QED

Re:Pretty bold. (4, Funny)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196411)

Except they've already paid for the Mandriva to come pre-loaded. So Mandriva already put in the winning bid.

Its not hard to win a bid when you're the only bidder..

How can Microsoft undercut something that's already been paid for, apart from giving money per copy of Windows installed?

Perhaps they will charge less and include more support options? Perhaps they'll throw in some licenses for government use?

And when you end up giving money to a government to use something, yes, people do tend to use the word 'bribery' a little.

You don't have any proof that MS gave money for them to ditch Mandriva, do you? Perhaps their offer is better than Mandriva's was, but the government already signed a contract.. so they are paying just to satisfy it.

So, which officals do you think personally received money from MS, and why? Where's your proof? Certainly offering the government a cheaper price or a service package is not bribery, or the simple process of bidding for government contracts would be bribery.

Re:Pretty bold. (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196477)

But Mandriva didn't win anything. They don't negotiate the contract for their OS to be on the systems, do they? They're on the system by default, right? Essentially, Mandriva sent out a big press release saying that thousands of computers running Mandriva had been ordered...in a similar fashion to all the MS releases touting the number of Windows installs as being high, without taking into account that the numbers are artificially inflated because of a lack of other options from a number of manufacturers.
 
Whether MS is looking at this as a big PR stunt, or a chance to rope more people into using their OS, remains to be seen. I'm sure they offered a sweet deal to the Nigerian government, but it might not have been bribery. After all, when corporations offer to do nice things for impoverished governments at no cost, that's charity...right?

Re:Pretty bold. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196725)

And when you end up giving money to a government to use something, yes, people do tend to use the word 'bribery' a little.

When someone pays ME to use something, I call that a farking bargain.

Re:Pretty bold. (2, Insightful)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196321)

Did you read the summary? I did. "You buyt those computers and pay to have Mandriva preloaded, then wipe them and install Windows" doesn't sound like a very competitive bid to me.

Re:Pretty bold. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196567)

I don't know that it said anywhere that they would PAY for Windows though. As someone who works for a global company - when we acquired a smaller company that had business in several African countries the IT people there always looked at us like we were crazy when we told them that they had to pay licenses for software (not just Microsoft, but Adobe, etc.). They told us that they never paid for software and weren't going to start paying now. Of course as a global US based company we had to fix that - they do pay now. It still isn't the norm there though, so maybe they have no intent of paying for Windows?

Re:Pretty bold. (0)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196363)

Do you know the details of the deal? I don't.
And this is part of the problem. The government didn't specify the reason why they changed their minds. No "Thanks but we re-evaluated our options and our people decided that X was better than your product." Such a turn about does deserve an explanation. When there is no explanation given then yes, people will suspect there is a reason but because it's not an ethically valid one the government doesn't want to go into details about it.

But really, we just have to wait for another source to pop up. All we have atm is one side of the story.

Re:Pretty bold. (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196479)

Huh? They only have to explain themselves to their citizens. They don't need to explain to Mandriva at all. Why would they? They risk burning a bridge over what is probably already a source spot for Mandriva.

For all you know they have explained it.. all we know is what Madriva said at this point.

Re:Pretty bold. (0, Troll)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196431)

Uh..., apparently he knows more details of the deal than you do. Perhaps because he actually RTFA. It was certainly not a "more competative (sic) bid" that prompted the Nigerian government to buy the PC's with Mandriva installed and then pay more money to purchase Windows, and then pay still more money to replace the Mandriva install with Windows.
Nigeria and Microsoft. Please...
Occam's Razor says this deal has bribe written all over it until proven otherwise.

Re:Pretty bold. (1)

Ghubi (1102775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196543)

Except Microsoft didn't outbid Mandriva, this decision came after the deal was already closed. Nigeria is still going to pay for Mandriva, they just aren't going to use it. This definitely stinks.

Re:Pretty bold. (1)

vtscott (1089271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196647)

What is it called when you offer to sell a product at a greatly reduced price, especially when there's another bidder? Is that bribery too? Or is it two companies competing for a bid/

I have to say that I doubt Microsoft outright bribed the government to get this deal to go through. However, they were probably willing to take a loss on this to offer them Windows at an insanely reduced price. The problem is that by offering windows up as a loss leader, microsoft is getting Nigerian children hooked on their product making it much harder to transition away later. They've found yet another group of children who will eventually equate the internet with double clicking on a big blue 'e'. That's worth any loss they take initially on this deal. It's not a bribe, but offering a huge discount is definitely an investment for MS.

Re:Pretty bold. (1)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196669)

So, OLPC work out this great scheme to introduce cheap educational laptops to poor countries. This other company undercuts them and Redhat jump on board. Now Redhat have been undercut by a bigger company and we're supposed to feel sorry for them.

Re:Pretty bold. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196201)

First, you have no evidence of bribery. Just insinuation and highly unprofessional whining from a "CEO" who any board of a non mickey-mouse company would fire for making such a post. Second - your analogy is bullshit. Bob's Concrete Construction does not pay "the government" to "get the contract." Rather, the construction company might pay somebody with particular power and insufficient oversight to get awarded a contract that it wouldn't otherwise on its own merits. You can't bribe 'the government' to win a government contract, obviously. Every act of selling something has costs. There are costs to advertise. There are costs to meet with clients. there are costs to point out the relative strength of your product compared to competitors. There may even be things like 'loss leaders.' We don't think of any of these items, generally speaking, as particularly unethical when done in reasonable amounts, and certainly we don't call any of them 'bribery.' When actual cash-in-a-paper-bag bribery does occur - we naturally blame the organization whose lack of accountability allowed it to occur first and foremost. If a minister in nigeria would accept cash-in-a-bag he's acting against the best interests of the citizens he is entrusted to represent, while the cash-bag-giver is arguably doing exactly what is in their shareholders interests - securing more sales. but what if there was no cash in a bag, but simply a meeting at a fancy hotel in london where microsoft hashed out the relative merits of its product and offered a competitive price.. is this "bribery?" If so, then nearly every business traveller in the world is guilty of it on one end or another. More to the point - you dont know what happened or to what degree. Your words indicate a fairly naive understanding of what bribery is and where the responsibilities lie. Until then, perhaps idly spreading rumors isnt such a good idea.. oh wait.. tihs is slashdot.

Re:Pretty bold. (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196291)

Well that's not quite right, because it wouldn't be in the concrete companies best interest to pay in order to build a freeway. It would be more like the local concrete business making certain campaign donations, and then being selected as the contractor for a freeway bypass even though their bid came in more than $1 million higher than an equally capable competitor.

Or if a local concrete business lowers their bid by embedding their advertisement in the concrete of a publicly owned road.

Or if a local concrete business, through campaign contributions, convinced someone to persuade the city engineer that all concrete related building projects must use the single approved concrete company.

Re:Pretty bold. (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196333)

Has anyone provided the tiniest bit of evidence that Microsoft paid the Nigerian government? Or even that they had any influence at all in the decision? Plenty of people install Windows on a PC without a personal visit from Steve Ballmer, just as you and I run Linux without Linus's personal intervention. Perhaps the Nigerians just decided they like Windows more.

Re:Pretty bold. (1)

pentalive (449155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196335)

Perhaps microsoft pointed out that they *could* run this non-standard, unsupported, toy-like OS or they could run Windows the standard of business everywhere, and supported too. In other words, they employed FUD.

Re:Pretty bold. (2, Informative)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196473)

Paying an official to make the decision: bribary
Donating the product for free: Donation
Giving the government (not an official) more money than the value of the product, on the condition it is used: Hybrid of both?

Regardless, I think the fanbois will say that MS didn't bribe them, and Nigeria just came to their senses, and realized a better product was available. Never having used either solution, I can't say where I stand. However, reading that open letter tells me why Mandriva is not, and will never be a major player as long as Mr. Whiner is in charge. The tone seemed more of a bitchfest than anything trying to acquire more people in his court, without actually moving for a change. There was recently an article on CNN where a political pundit was talking about how so many people can complain, but so few actually do anything beyond that when something goes wrong. This open letter strikes me as that kind of thing, brought down to 5th grade level.

Re:Pretty bold. (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196589)

If Bob's Concrete Construction paid the government $1 million to get the contract to build a new major freeway bypass, you guys would be calling it bribery.
If Bob paid a government official $1 million to get the contract, I would call that bribery. But paying the government itself isn't bribery.

Wait,,, (5, Funny)

hkgroove (791170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196021)

But they will only only be able to pay for the rest of the Windows licenses after Ballmer sends the first 1000 licenses upfront, which will enable them to free up the treasury money.

Intel & Microsoft Vs OLPC (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196023)

Fishy things have been going on in Classmate PC Vs OLPC. Recently I read that Microsoft & Intel have already begun shipment [reuters.com] to Libya of their classmate PCs. Libya had agreed to buy 1.2 million OLPCs [slashdot.org] but, of course, they aren't available yet.

What's really strange is I can't find anything on this from Microsoft or Intel. You're providing 150,000 laptops at only $200 each to a developing nation for the purposes of education and you don't have a press release outside of that country? Maybe they're just being humble? Or maybe someone was leveraging their ex-boss's many donations to African medicine & development [gatesfoundation.org] to convince the Libyan government to take a different route?

You know, it's great that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is donating all that money to research and aide but if word gets out that they're using that to influence who those countries do business with, I don't think anyone's going to be impressed anymore. There's something fishy going on here, I'll bet you start to see many more countries make the switch to Classmate PCs over OLPCs ... and not for the technological reasons that they should be concerned with.

Re:Intel & Microsoft Vs OLPC (2)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196067)

You know, it's great that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is donating all that money to research and aide but if word gets out that they're using that to influence who those countries do business with, I don't think anyone's going to be impressed anymore.

They've been doing it subtly for years. They never make it a condition of the donations but its made clear that gratitude is expected, and that a Christmas card probably won't cut it.

TWW

Re:Intel & Microsoft Vs OLPC (1, Interesting)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196143)

perhaps because US has sanctions [google.com] against lybia, making a press release about the deal unwise ?

Re:Intel & Microsoft Vs OLPC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196259)

perhaps because US has sanctions against lybia, making a press release about the deal unwise ?
Are you implying that Microsoft & Intel hope the IRS doesn't notice where their income is coming from and they're just hoping this doesn't make the news here? That's laughable.

Also, Libya has been on the UN Security Council for quite some time now and your search turned up no reports of them still being sanctioned by the US government. They were given a chance to dismantle some of their weapons and I believe they chose to do it.

Re:Intel & Microsoft Vs OLPC (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196351)

The U.S. lifted the last of those sanctions in 2004 [cnn.com] . If you had spelled the name of the country correctly, you probably would have found it more easily.

Grow up.... (-1, Flamebait)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196031)

If this were Gentoo or Debian, I'd be sympathetic. But Mandriva (putting aside the fact that it's only "one of these tiny Linux compan[ies]" because of their own mismanagement, and that when you walked into a CompUSA in 1999 there were Mandrake boxes everywhere) is in business, and doesn't need to cry because Microsoft was mean to them. He should be glad he's getting paid at all from this deal.

Who wants to bet.... (0, Offtopic)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196039)

...François Bancilhon,...

Who wants to bet that, with a name like that, he's a geek who actually gets laid a lot?

Way to go! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196059)

The guy just smugly accused the Nigerian government of corruption. I don't think they'll be very happy about it, nor reverse their decision. Not after this.

Congratulations, mr. Bancilhon, you've screwed it all up.

Re:Way to go! (2, Interesting)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196421)

Accusing the Nigerian Government of corruption is like accusing the sun of shining. I can't help thinking he'd have had a far better chance of keeping Linux on those boxes if he'd simply told the Nigerian Govt. that those discount Windows licences that Ballmer was bribing them with could be sold on at a big profit.

He'd even get bonus points for getting round the EULA by hinting heavily enough that it really ought to be illegal under Nigerian law.

Re:Way to go! (2, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196583)

The world needs more people who speak their minds and tell the truth with complete disregard for other people's "feelings". It's very refreshing, especially coming from a CEO since most of what big business says to the public and to other businesses and the government is so watered down and devoid of meaning that it doesn't actually say anything at all. I applaud this guy for having the stones to do what he did. The sad thing is, there aren't enough people who respect this kind of behavior, so people that act like this don't tend to get very powerful (or stay powerful for very long). It's sad we live in a time when bullshitting is a more profitable skill than being right--the only thing that should matter.

Someone is going to say it, I'll say it first (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196079)

REDMONT, WASHINGTON.

ATTENTION: THE PRESIDENT/DICTATOR

DEAR SIR,

CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL

HAVING CONSULTED WITH MY COLLEAGUES AND BASED ON THE INFORMATION GATHERED FROM THE MICROSOFTIAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE TO REQUEST FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE TO TRANSFER THE SUM OF $47,500,000.00 (FORTY SEVEN MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) INTO YOUR ACCOUNTS. IF YOU ARE ABLE TO REPLACE THE LINNEX SOFTWARES ON THE PC COMPUTER LAPTOPS YOU HAVE PURCHASED WITH WINDOWS, WE WILL BE ABLE TO GIVE YOU A KICKBA--CONSULTING FEE FOR YOUR TROUBLED ASSISTANCE.

YOURS IN MAMMON,

WILLIAM (BILL) GATES.CX

frickin' lameness filter, that's what the scams look like, how else am I supposed to write them? Don't mess with my joke. Defeat the filter, clog the filter, replace the filter with genuine GM parts....

Re:Someone is going to say it, I'll say it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196497)

Not to be nitpicky but it is Redmond, not Redmont

Re:Someone is going to say it, I'll say it first (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196699)

Woooooooooosh

Get the war drums pounding! (4, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196089)

Shouldn't we wait for some more specific information/evidence before we accuse Microsoft of bribery? If Mandriva stops short of this, perhaps we should too - after all, it's a serious charge.

I'm sure Microsoft had something to do with their decision, but *maybe* it simply came down to convincing Nigeria that its product was better. It sounds like they are giving Windows out for free, that may have impressed the Nigerian government, and does not constitute bribery.

Re:Get the war drums pounding! (1)

sktea (692457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196405)

It sounds like they are giving Windows out for free, that may have impressed the Nigerian government, and does not constitute bribery.

No, but it might constitute sabotage.

Re:Get the war drums pounding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196451)

but *maybe* it simply came down to convincing Nigeria that its product was better. It sounds like they are giving Windows out for free, that may have impressed the Nigerian government, and does not constitute bribery.
simple logic: If you believe what Microsoft is telling you, is taking a substantial loss on giving away Windows licenses. It is a substantial "gift" for the sole purpose of changing the minds of a government, therefore it is bribery.

Re:Get the war drums pounding! (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196501)

Shouldn't we wait for "some more specific information/evidence" that Microsoft has a better product before we dismiss the far more likely reason that Nigeria is paying for something (Mandriva),then throwing it away, and then replacing it with something else that t also had to pay for?

Re:Get the war drums pounding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196539)

Shouldn't we wait for some more specific information/evidence before we accuse Microsoft of bribery? If Mandriva stops short of this, perhaps we should too - after all, it's a serious charge.


It is a serious charge, which he btw. is also directing at the customer he wants to continue doing business with. Nothing builds up your customers loyalty as calling them corrupt.

Re:Get the war drums pounding! (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196755)

crack dealers give new customers the first rock free too, but once they got em hooked they start jacking up the price...

ALL THESE BASE ARE BELONG TO YOU (NT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196091)

NT

NT? Boy are you behind the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196683)

Shouldn't that be Vista?

Why does it have to be a bribe? (4, Insightful)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196093)

From one perspective (although undoubtedly an unpopular one here on /.) a free copy of Windows is worth more than a free copy of Mandriva. If MS came by later and offered free, or heavily discounted copies of Windows, I could see how Nigeria would accept it. After all, it vastly increases the range of applications that are now available for them to use. It's a great deal for Microsoft. Get those Nigerian kids entrenched in the Microsoft camp at a young age. Like I said, it may not be popular here, but I can see how this deal could be viewed as good for both parties by both parties...

Re:Why does it have to be a bribe? (1)

rarwes (645964) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196233)

Nigeria already had a deal with Mandriva. And Nigeria will pay Mandriva. So they buy an OS and replace that immediately with another OS.

Re:Why does it have to be a bribe? (5, Insightful)

RayMarron (657336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196263)

Except for the fact that it used to be a $200 laptop with free upgrades and more free applications you can shake a stick at. Now it's a $200 Windows computer. The version currently installed may be free, but the next one won't be. Nor are a majority of the applications it has available. In my eyes, the cost of that machine over its lifetime just went WAY up.

Re:Why does it have to be a bribe? (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196485)

If MS came by later and offered free, or heavily discounted copies of Windows, I could see how Nigeria would accept it.
Yes, but even a free copy of Windows takes time and manpower to install, which isn't free. I'm sure to make this offer viable, Microsoft had to offer some department head a grant to cover paying all those workers $100/hr (that's a standard rate, right?) for their trouble.

I would be shocked, shocked I tell you, if the head of that department were to pay his workers only $2/hr and pocket the rest of the money for himself, that would be unethical. Of course that would in no way be Microsoft's fault, right?

You're right -- it could be all honest. (5, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196613)

But I'll give you another perspective, by necessity pure fiction, of how it could work. Suppose there is this small Eastern European country, nevermind which one. It has a minister in charge for the state administration. He could be a small, nerdy guy with heavy glasses on a big nose. His salary isn't great, and he has a lot of expenses.

So, what has he gotta do? He's gotta make some money on the side. But how? Well, he figures, he'll get a "commission" on what his department pays. He doesn't know much about IT, he doesn't care much about his department. But he knows how much his expenses are. So, he makes a calculation. He needs X. His commission rate is Y. The total budget he needs is Z = X/Y or thereabouts. Then, he goes shopping.

What does shopping look like? He has some people he trusts, very few. They make some calls, private. They talk about lotsa things, but one thing is repeated. "We have budget Z, and we need an offer". The people being called of course know what Y is, so they figure out they got Z-Y. They make some offers. The minister picks his candidates. Then real work begins.

The suppliers can only be chosen by winning a bid. So, the already agreed offer is then carefully drafted into the conditions for the bidding, in such way that only the chosen can win. Then, after all preparations, the bid is announced, applications are gathered by all -- suckers and winners, and, after a procedure, a winner is announced.

Sometimes suckers try hard. Real hard. They do a lot of work (including some trash-digging and what you not), and even manage to win. But they win the public auction. They never win the one the minister has set up, because they have never had the minister's offer -- it is not for everyone. So, if they win, the minister loses.

That is why even if they win, they never win. There is always a change afterwards, and they kicked out. On a technicality, or a new rule, or just on a whim -- it doesn't matter. They can't win, because they don't even compete. That's how it could work on one side.

Consider the other side now. A big software company is determined not to let go of the market in that country. But what is the market there? First of all, there are the home installs. These are all pirated, and collection is not possible. So, the software vendor scratches them out. For now. There is the business sector. They are also kinda semi-legal, and need to be squeezed, but for that the vendor needs the helping hand from the government. So, the vendor scratches em out ... for now. Finally, there is the government. First, they gotta be legal. They have reputation to mind, besides, there are always those "free trade" incentives the vendor can play. Besides, there is the Z - Y thingy.

So, the vendor invests a (small) amount in an office, hires some very shrewd local staff. Pays big salary, taxis, etc. All they need to do is get the government deal. So they do. The vendor doesn't want to know how, of course. So they play the "we're so blind" game. Somehow someone in the vendor's office gets the call. Then they are on it. They give the offer. They win.

Then the fun begins. The vendor's formula is usually setup so that from the first (Z - Y) they get enough to finance their operations in that country for a decade. Then another deal comes. And another. The more, the merrier. Until the budget is used up, it is all Z - Y. Relations improve. Then, the government starts to squeeze on the businesses. Then on the home users. And the vendor keeps profiting. The relationship can expand publicly -- and it could be "free" sometimes. Like, all government employees receive "free" licenses for home use. Or some schools get "free" licenses. Or some instiutions. There maybe some protests from other interested parties.

But, whatever happens on the surface, the game is the same. There is always the Z - Y equation in the background. Those who don't compete in that auction never win. Even when they do. And so it goes.

Re:Why does it have to be a bribe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196659)

Free copies of Windows WOULD be a bribe.

Re:Why does it have to be a bribe? (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196709)

From one perspective (although undoubtedly an unpopular one here on /.) a free copy of Windows is worth more than a free copy of Mandriva.

After all, it vastly increases the range of applications that are now available for them to use.

Like I said, it may not be popular here, but I can see how this deal could be viewed as good for both parties by both parties...
It gives them access to more apps and all while they're in school learning to use it, but when they leave school and they have to start paying the fee like the rest of us, do you really think they'll think "Thank god I learned to use MS instead of Linux".
Maybe this is acceptable where you live, where everyone goes to school happily, then graduates and gets a nice office job. But this is a developing country and these kids can't afford to start paying for software (the ones that get computers that is)

If suddenly everything's improved and all Nigerians are able and willing to pay for Windows instead of getting a free alternative then please correct me and I'll admit my fault

Welcome to the 21st century. (2, Insightful)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196711)

Most of what you say stopped being true in the late 90s.

If MS came by later and offered free, or heavily discounted copies of Windows, I could see how Nigeria would accept it.

For it to even start to break even, M$ is going to have to pay to have it installed as well as providing all of the required software free of charge. Note that M$ does not own all of the software required, like Adobe Reader, Flash and countless other must have software packages.

[Windows] vastly increases the range of applications that are now available for them to use.

The only thing increased by Windows is the rage of stuff you need to buy. The free software world gives you a choice of quality applications that are cost free and easily modified to suit any particular purpose. Bits in a box will never be as good a match for your needs and they often come with additional and costly restrictions. There are very few upsides left to M$ domination.

Like I said, it may not be popular here, but I can see how this deal could be viewed as good for both parties by both parties.

We can be sure that the deal was great for the parties directly involved but the users have been sold.

Nitpicking (-1, Offtopic)

gr8dude (832945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196101)

Hi, this is François, from Mandriva.
[...]
In other word, we did our job. I understand the machine are being delivered right now.
In SOVIET Mandriva machine are deliver YOU!!

Off Topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196115)

Since when are the titles of the replies underlined? I don't remember this? Is this a sctrictly "Linux" section feature?

Well, fair is fair. (0)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196119)

I mean, with millions of people buying computers in the first world pre-loaded with Windows, then ripping that out and installing Linux...

Not like MSFT is going to catch up with that anytime soon... and at the rate Vista keeps flopping, it may get to the point where bribing every official in Africa won't be enough to catch up at all.

/P

Re:Well, fair is fair. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196207)

"millions of people buying computers in the first world pre-loaded with Windows, then ripping that out and installing Linux"

Um...no, no they're not.

Stop with the self congratulation already.

Re:Well, fair is fair. (0, Troll)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196323)

Millions? Millions? Um... Ok.

moneymaking-HOWTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196123)

1 - make a public announcement your school/university/corporation/government office is switching to Open Source software.
2 - ???
3 - announce you suddenly realized OSS doesn't fit your needs and Microsoft products are much beter than OSS ones.
4 - ???
5 - Profit!

Step 2 involves someone from MS, even Ballmer himself, taking the first plane to wave a big check from Microsoft in your face. Step 4 is that someone signing the check.

Mirror ? (1)

The_Angry_Canadian (1156097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196189)

He can't look himself in his mirror in the morning... He threw a chair at it !

Halo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196191)

Unless they got copies of Halo 3 with the deal - I think they got hosed.

Interesting comment (2, Funny)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196325)

From the comments:

Anonymous said,

November 1, 2007 at 4:02 am

François,

Why are you assuming that Microsoft did something underhanded? It could very well be the case that a deal with Microsoft is more viable for the Nigerian goverment in the longer run -

- Their products are tried and trusted. Yours is still an unknown quantity.

- Their customer support is supposedly very good. How about yours?

- Maybe the TCO for Microsoft's solution is lower than your solution.

I'm in no way taking sides. But you must be willing to accept the possibility that Microsoft could have presented a better long term deal for them.

-Anonymous

Wow, I can't imagine where that post might have originated from?

Re:Interesting comment (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196461)

The "TCO" of Linux laptops, if you have reasonably smart monkeys using them, is virtually zero. Want them to do something they don't do already? Go download it. They're doing something you don't want? Google it.

They have to do the evolution also (4, Funny)

noddyxoi (1001532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196367)

begin troll:
So I began in DOS 3.3, then i upgraded to 5.0 , 6.0 windows 3.1 ... windows NT, 95, 98, me, xp, with some linuxes, redhat, slackware, etc in the middle and then i finished my OS evolution in Mandrake, that latter became Mandriva.

I paid for all the hardware/software from my pocket in between all those evolutions. And now those ugly, poor, ignorant, future scammers africans kids will get a free laptop that would come with the best OS i found until today for free ?!?!? NO WAY !!!! Make them known that evolution doesn't come for free ! GIVE THEM VISTA !!! Make them know that evolution has a path and a price ! Leave them to suffer with Vista light with DRM and crippleware, don't forget to install norton antivirus and WGA. After that when they think that they can live well without computers offer them slackware linux, them give them gentoo, and when they understand the evolution of the OS finally let them install Mandriva. :end troll

TANSTAAFM (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196387)

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Market.

Re:TANSTAAFM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196735)

The most insightful thing I've read all day.

Why I will not run Mandriva (0, Flamebait)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196413)

The comments on the blog posting provide the clearest possible proof that the Mandriva user community doesn't really have two brain cells to rub together. A shame, because back in the day Linux-Mandrake was a good distribution and its userbase wasn't entirely composed of ranting cluebies. Choice picks:

Stupid for Nigeria, now that South Africa uses Ubunta; they'll surely get hacked.

This letter needs to be followed up. I urge the readers to send this to your local attorney-general or comparable legal authority.

Wait until they discover Windoze still runs on top of DOS and uses Winsock DLL for communications. ROTFLMAO

Missing details (1)

gr8dude (832945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196419)

we shall pay for the Mandriva Software as agreed, but we shall replace it by Windows afterward.
I am curious what the Nigerian's side explanation is. Obviously this is a stupid decision, if they concluded that using Windows is better/cheaper, they should have figured this out it initially. Perhaps they'd get a better offer, or at least they could have avoided such a dramatic change of the set-up.

Re:Missing details (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196569)

I could be wrong, but I doubt it's possible to input Nigeria's major languages (Hausa, Yoruba, etc.) under Linux-- certainly not in a default Mandriva installation. (Back when I tried out the distro, I couldn't even get Japanese working.)

What was the purpose of the OLPC project again ??? (0, Flamebait)

Mad Leper (670146) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196459)

Was the point of OLPC to provide low cost computers to needy children or to promote Mandriva/OSS ??

If the Nigerian Government says "thanks for the computers, but we'd like to make our own choice as to what software to run on them" then how is that bad ? The kids still get their laptops and all the supposed benefits they were to deliver. Is Mandriva suggesting that the entire point of the OLPC project was to force children to use their software to the exclusion of all else ?

Here's a neat trick, take the "open letter to Steve Ballmer" and swap any references to Mandriva to Microsoft and vice versa. Now we have a nasty letter from M$ complaining that Nigeria is dumping the Windows OS on their new laptops for Linux. If you find this a perfectly acceptable situation, then admit to yourself that your support for the OLPC project was not to "help the children" but to promote your own beliefs.

Frenchies: Fucking Learn English! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196503)

Or then fucking use the one and only language you know... I'm not even going to mention pronunciation in this post...

MS doesn't mind corrupting (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196529)

..even in Europe, let alone in places where corruption is almost the expected behaviour.

Sore downfall - (1, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196597)

From bribing standards board of sweden, to bribing nigerian government. microsoft is losing its edge it seems.

Conspiracies, conspiracies, conspiracies! (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196605)

Yeah, it's completely impossible that they received their computers, were dissatisfied with Linux because it wasn't what they were used to, and decided to wipe the drives and install (no doubt pirated) Windows on it. It has to be Microsoft's evil blackmail machine.

Re:Conspiracies, conspiracies, conspiracies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21196807)

RTFA. They have not even received them yet, before saying there going to do this.

419 and Phishing templates (1)

p00pyd00py (1174655) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196657)

Were probably not compatible with Linux.

What's going on at Microsoft? (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196695)

So in today's news, first the BBC is in bed with Bill Gates [slashdot.org] . Now, Steve Ballmer is giving the-b-word - aka blow jobs - to Nigerian officals.

If I was in Redmond today, I wouldn't drink the water....

So march the Developers of war (2, Interesting)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21196733)

Considering MS's war of extermination - I all Linux users do what we can to make Linux absolutely perfect hardware issues permitting. I mean, I want Linux distributions that are truly superior in every way possible to Windows. I want to make these people sorry they were every born. Mandriva is my distributor and my Linux of choice. While I support all things Linux and would never pose one Linux user against another, I am willing to learn C and C++ forwards and backwards. I will code solutions and drivers for Linux myself if I have too.

We should stop waiting around for others to do our work for us and stand on our own merits. Let me give an example.

We are closer to an Exchange solution than everyone thinks. If eGroupware and Kontact supported Kerberos over XML-RPC, Exchange would be finished. eGroupware and Kontact replicate all the features of Exchange and has a technologically superior advantage of funneling everything over HTTP. But it doesn't support Kerberos so it becomes a total nuisense to configure. The fact that Evolution does not support XMLRPC at all is just insane.

On the Open Office Front. Continue to support ODF, if changes need to be made to ODF to support more features, extend the features. Create versions of ODF backward and foreward compatible. And do whatever it takes to reverse engineer OOXML so that OO.org can read them, and resave them as ODF. Lets start really getting serious and making the bastards pay.
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