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Patents

+ - Open Letter to Ballmer

Submitted by RelliK
RelliK (4466) writes "Hi,

I am tired of Ballmer's BS and I want to send a response. Somebody has to stand up and say something, and so far I have heard nothing from our "leaders". However, a response is necessary and must be circulated far and wide. I can't think of a better forum to place it on.

Mr Ballmer,

Lately you have made a lot of noise with your vague threats against Linux. Indeed you were quite livid in your assertions that Linux infringes on some of Microsoft's unspecified patents. However, no amount of yelling, dancing, or chair throwing can make up for one crucial deficiency in your claims: you have so far failed to specify what it is you are complaining about. So, Mr. Ballmer, if you want to be taken seriously, here is what we, the Linux community, want you to do:
  • Provide the list of all patents that you believe pertain to Linux.
  • For each alleged patent, explain why you believe it applies to Linux.
  • Provide the exact source code coordinates in Linux (file, version, lines of code) that you believe infringe on said patents.
Should any of your claims prove true, we would be happy to remove the offending code from Linux. However, in the absense of the above information, we can only conclude that you are making things up. The strategy of vague, unspecified allegations and innuendo has already failed for your minion, SCO. You, of all people, should know that, Mr. Ballmer. The Linux community shall not be intimidated.

Your assertion that Open Source has no respect for intellectual property rights is baseless. On the contrary, because the code is open for all to see, it is impossible to hide illicit proprietary code in Open Source software. The same cannot be said about proprietary developers who often "borrow" Open Source code. Indeed, Microsoft itself has time and again shown disdain for intellectual property rights of others. Most recent example of that is $1.5 billion judgment against Microsoft in a patent dispute with Alcatel-Lucent. Further, while purporting to assert patents against Linux, Microsoft is at the same time arguing before US Supreme Court that software cannot be patented.

In conclusion, Mr. Ballmer, the moment of truth has arrived: either specify your claims or stop your libelous accusations."

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