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Comment BlueJ, Star Trek and Microsoft lawyers (Score 1) 84

That, in fact, is the Microsoft strategy. There was a funny spoof years back, sort of a take off on Star Trek in which the enemy ship (Microsoft) prepares to attack. They don't deploy a photon blaster, rather the pod doors open, and a column of suits (replete with brief cases) emerges - oh no! - lawyers!

But at least in one case, very similar to Blackboard's situation (with prior art), Microsoft actually did the right thing. In their new version of Visual Studio, they had something called "Object Bench", and BlueJ developer, at first interested to see what Microsoft was doing, after exploring the screens a bit, realized it was very similar to BlueJ - a little _too_ similar, in fact! Worse, they were filing a patent!

Fortunately, MSFT has since apologized.

Dan Geer's Monoculture Bomb Goes Off 308

Andy Updegrove writes "Three years ago, celebrated security expert Dan Geer lost his job at @stake when he co-authored a paper on the dangers that the Microsoft 'monoculture' represented for end-users. Last fall, he authored a similar warning in a Perspective piece he wrote for, applauding the action of Massachusetts in adopting OpenDocument Format, thereby reducing its vulnerability to the same type of risk. Four days ago, Dan's prediction came true, when users of Word (but not those that only trade files created in StarOffice, OpenOffice, or other ODF compliant software) began to be infected with the Backdoor.Ginwui virus - a malicious Trojan program that hitches a ride on bogus Word documents. In short, an object lesson that in IT, as in biology, those that exist in diverse gene pools are at a lower risk, both individually and collectively, from those that subsist in a proprietary monoculture."

Linux Snobs, The Real Barriers to Entry 1347

McSnarf writes "It's not Windows. It's not distro wars. Sometimes it's just the arrogant attitude that keeps people from switching from Windows. 'As I spoke to newbies, one Windows user who wanted to learn about Linux shared the encouraging and constructive note (not) he received from one of the project members. The responding note read: "Hi jackass, RTFM and stop wasting our time trying to help you children learn.""

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer