back to article Ballmer: All open source dev should happen on Windows

While in Britain last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took a swipe at just about everything - from one of the world's largest Linux vendors to a social networking company he may end up buying. He insisted that Red Hat violates MS patents. He compared Facebook to GeoCities. He even accused Google of reading your email. At …


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  1. Tom
    Jobs Horns

    All Your Base Are Belong To Us

    Microsoft: If there is a patent violation, put up (and sue us), or shut up!

    Maybe they have a patent on chair throwing...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not true

    I think Steve Ballmer should fix Vista instead of telling nonsense comments like thay Linux is violating the patents, why he do not say which patents he is talking about.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm surprised

    that any Open Source development happens in DozeLand.

    Did they ever get Amarok yet?

  4. Richard Hebert

    Come on :)

    All open source development on top of windows ?

    really ? Is he on drugs or something ?

    Think that we are going to waste our time making his product more attractive ?

    Dream o .. oh .. true .. he's on drugs .. got to be ..

    No seriously .. he's got to be delerious , drunk , stoned or all the above

    to think we're going to spend our time and talent trying to give his

    product value..

    Pass him that pipe again .. he's too funny stoned out like this :)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, if your products didn't suck...

    maybe you wouldn't have anything to bitch about...

  6. Bashar

    How long!

    How long is this clown gonna keep hanging there? And I wonder how did he manage to keep his chair for so long.. before smashing it into the wall ofcourse :P

    He is a loser, and wants everyone else to look like one. If there is a patent violation from Linux, why didn't you answer to their Show Us The Code call?

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    "a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people"

    yeah, that's why Jobs is sitting in his iPod throne, you tool.

    i wonder when he's actually going to put his money where his mouth is and just sue Red Hat if they infringe so many MS patents. the man is a joke.

  9. Craig Foster

    Maybe Compiz Fusion should be patented

    If Compiz Fusion gets patented Microsoft is almost screwed coming up with anything better than Aero's lacklustre speccy effects.

  10. Bryan Seigneur
    Paris Hilton

    Gates is more clueful than this guy.

    If Ballmer had a clue, he would try to spin what he says to make it believable. He doesn't know about developing even on his own platform. He doesn't know about software, let alone software patents (well...the people writing software patents don't know about software either, but I digress). He doesn't know what a protocol is to even have an idea about what embracing and corrupting an open protocol is.

  11. Faceless Man

    Holy deja-vu!

    The whole "faddish" thing sounds awfully familiar. Didn't MS make a similar claim about 12 years ago about web browsers?

    Ballmer is insane. And not the good kind of insane.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Ballmer's obviously twisted...

    ...but the comparison of Facebook (and more to the point, Myspace) to Geocities isn't half-bad.

    In that it's the 'noise' in the old signal to noise ratio equations. Kind of like Ballmer himself.

    Btw: The whole anonymous coward thing is pushing it a touch. I fuckin' hate slashdot. I like the icons, tho.

  13. My Opinion

    Just Testing

    Not a lot to add.

    But just wanted to play with these new icons.

  14. Sampler


    Don't most companies use the excuse that they have to sue every patent infringement in order to maintain the integrity of their lawsuits when they have a genuine case (this is usually trotted out when suing ten year olds) so if they're not suing Red Hat for such an (supposed) egregious infringement does that mean they now have no leg to stand on anyone else utilising those patents?

    Legally speaking of course - back in the real world we all know it's a different matter

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google = Big Brother Inc.

    They have created the biggest data-mining operation in history. Every last move is tracked; information is taken from everything and from everywhere. Your information is bought, sold and traded with every other data-miner they can. Nothing is deleted ever. Until they offer REAL privacy options to account holders (even if it's at a premium,) such as the ability to truly delete something completely from their servers, opt-out of profile building, prevent message scanning, the holding onto search queries and partial IP addresses for eternity. With governments around the world moving toward draconian law and desperate corporations that are facing out-dated industrial models. This is the worst time to give up your privacy for the most dime-a-dozen of all things (free email, search, maps, video hosting, etc.) Boycott Google!

  16. Christian Berger

    What else should he do?

    Well just consider beeing in his situation. The last product was a complete failure, for the first time the business model of the company starts to fail as there are now competitors.

    Clearly everything he can do now is spreading FUD. If they really had anything in his hands he would have sued a long time ago. Probably he is afraid that he will not win in a case where the patent infringer clearly isn't making any money of the patent and even the patent is nothing special. He might even loose that patent.

    Just imagine how an investor to Microsoft would react if one of their patents was either invalidated or not enforcable by court? They would start pulling out their money as the company itself would loose some of it's value.

    As for the privacy, face it, if you are using services of another company don't expect anything to be private. That's why you have GnuPG.

  17. David Wilkinson

    I am a big fan of open source software for windows.

    The Ballmer's don't deserve a reply, but I would like to say I definitely appreciate those who develop open source programs for Windows.

    A couple times I year I review all the software I use on my Windows installation, and switch to use open source software whenever practical.

    BTW Google doesn't do anything that isn't done by every other business out there including your credit card company.

    Boycott everyone won't work. Better privacy laws might.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Title Ballmer, rejuvenator of furniture.

    As a representative of developers, especially OSS developers, his opinion is pretty worthless.

    However, he is the top BTSOOOF (Beater To Shit Of Obsolete Office Furniture) in The Reg's journalistic category, and BOOOF (Breaker Of Obsolete Office Furniture) in the wider journalistic category, and his opinions aren't completely worthless.

    I'd pay postage/shipping to have him sign the front of an office chair with a wide MarksAlot, bust the chair up almost up completely, and return only the chairback (with autograph intact) to me.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    The Death of Microsoft?

    If I were a shareholder I would be very concerned that Ballmer is wandering the globe doing anything but get Vista fixed.

    The days when Microsoft said Linux wasn't even on their list of things to worry about seem to be a long time ago.

  20. Tim Bates

    Get rid of Ballmer

    I in no way think anything of MS. I don't need to care really, since I prefer to stay at least 10m from any MS product...

    MS need to get rid of Ballmer if they want to survive. Ludicrous claims like this are damaging their own image. More and more people are starting to see through his ranting and raving as the claims get more and more bizarre. I expect by next year he'll be claiming aliens stole his kidneys and that the moon is property of Microsoft.

  21. Alain
    Dead Vulture

    "I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows".

    Sure. Here's how: first, make the whole code development suite free, then have all the APIs documented online instead of asking us to buy half a dozen expensive books. Is he serious ? All the decent development tools that can be used on Windows come from the Unix world.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Only Microsoft

    Could spout their completely unproven FUD about Microsoft's infringed patents in a country that doesn't recognise 99.9% of them

    Well done Mr Ballmer - who else could, single handedly, make Microsoft look a bunch of fools. Maybe we can buy him a Jester's outfit for Christmas.. Actually can we have that as an icon? Steve Ballmer in a jester's hat?

  23. Paul Stimpson

    Why does my business use Linux?

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    - Mahatma Gandhi

    Looks like things are moving along nicely for RedHat then...

    Dear Mr Ballmer,

    I have a business. It's only small but it's growing and I'm proud of it. Almost every mission-critical activity within my business takes place on Linux. In fact we only have one Windows machine and that is because of a particular user's preference. Even then that machine runs the Windows versions of the OSS software the rest of the business uses.

    Why? Is it because this businessman is against companies making money or being successful? No. I like making money just as much as the next guy. Is it because I'm a commie pinko or an America-hater? No, I like making money just like the next guy and 90% of my custom comes from the USA.

    The reasons I use Linux are quite simple: It enables me to deliver a quality service to my customers because, once it's setup to my liking, it just carries on working. I don't have to spend my profits on anti-virus software to try to keep it healthy or waste time I could be using to earn money scraping adware and malware off it. I've never had to reinstall it because it broke beyond being fixable. In fact I can't remember the last time it broke. I'm more productive using it as it's quicker on my hardware and just lets me get on with the things I need to do without thinking it knows what I want better than I do. It doesn't reboot my workstation in the middle of the night, even though I've set the preferences not to automatically install updates, losing the big number crunching job I'd left running overnight.

    I have 2 hard drives and when I want to upgrade to a new distribution I swap them then do a clean install on the other drive and finally copy my user files across. This works well for me as I can always put the old drive back in and be back where I was in under 2 minutes. It takes me under 2 hours to install from scratch, update and get things just how I want them. Reinstalling Windows, my software and doing all the updates, if I want a dual boot, takes me almost a whole day.

    In short, your software conspicuously fails to deliver the performance, stability, security, maintainability and quality that I need to keep my promises to my customers. That is why I don't use it for mission-critical applications any more. If you want my business back then stop spending your time trying to beat your competitors by badmouthing them and invest it in improving the quality of your own product. If Windows met my needs better than Linux then I would use it.

    Yours sincerely,

    Paul Stimpson.

  24. kevin elliott

    Out of Ammunition

    It's clear that Ballmer is worried. Very worried. If all he can do is bitch about unproven patent infringements, threaten litigation, bad mouth red hat and facebook, without having anything positive to say about where Windows/MS is better and worth the expense, then he's pushing a lost cause. Vista's close to being a flop, despite the spin they're putting on it's weak sales. Office hasn't really improved for years, just more and more bloatware.

    One of the arguments of the weak is abuse and it's interesting to see posters here calling him a loser.... He didn't get where he is by being a loser...

    Wake up guys, MS is still ahead of Open source in many areas (& I run Linux at home), but is it worth the cost? Ballmer has a serious fight on his hands, has realised it, and he's doing it the only way he knows - head on, mouth open and leading with his chin. He's not got a lot of things left to fight with, Open Source has caught up - mostly. Ballmer doesn't seem to have a good long term strategy, but bad mouthing him won't make things change faster - or get him to change his style.

    Microsoft, like the RIAA needs to change it's business model - or die. & then we can kiss goodbye to free service packs, free bug and security fixes, free hotmail, free apps... .net is really about payment for use, & it won't be cheaper. Meanwhile OS is moving to commerical models (Suse, among many others). What happened to single payment for life licences (like Norton AV used to have?). They died, mostly, to be replaced with revenue generating period licences... MS will follow, & so will Open Source it's just a matter of time.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Holy deja-vu!

    MS claimed the Internet was a fad.

    Mind you they also claimed that you wouldn't need more than 640k of memory and you wouldn't need filenames longer than 8.3 (filename.exe)

  26. Gulfie

    Is anybody still listening?

    Come on Steve, change the record. The time when FUD about patent infringement would work is past. We've heard it all before and now it just doesn't register on the radar.

    Publish the violations or drop the claims.

    Of course, if you publish the violations, they'll be engineered out in months and _then_ what will you do to put people off Linux?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    More refunds!

    Great. Imagine if a Microsoft tax on Linux products did come about. If I buy a machine with Windows on it I have to fight tooth and nail to get a Windows refund. If it comes with Linux on it I have to fight tooth and nail to get a refund of the MS tax because "SOFTWARE PATENTS ARE NOT LEGAL IN THE UK".

    Ballmer can spout as much crap as he wants, and it is crap, but at the end of the day his comments about Google and Red Hat are libellous in the UK, and if he is indicating that UK Linux users owe them money for using their intellectual property then he is lying. Was it not the EFI who examined Microsofts intellectual property and patents and found that there was not much there? That most of it was built of current standards even though they were trying to charge an arm and a leg for it?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OSS Zelots aside, let's look at what he said:

    "...the Redmond supremo badmouthed his archest of arch rivals..."

    Sadly badmouthing rivals is pretty much par for the course in the IT industry these days, MS are just as bad as Apple, are just as bad as FOSS. Actually outside of a FOSS company FOSSers are probably a lot worse at bad mouthing than the rest.

    "...After telling his audience that Windows Live Hotmail generates relatively little ad revenue..."

    Seems fair enough, storage and bandwidth are not cheap.

    "...he claimed that Google's Gmail suffers from much the same problem - despite nefarious activity from the Mountain View, CA outfit..."

    Fair enough. Google are getting more nefarious IMO.

    "Google's had the same experience - even though they read your mail and we don't..."

    "...When we contacted Google, the company did not admit to reading user email. It pointed us to the Gmail privacy policy, which acknowledges that the company "processes" email communications: "Google's computers process the information in your messages for various purposes, including formatting and displaying the information to you, delivering advertisements and related links, preventing unsolicited bulk email (spam), backing up your messages, and other purposes relating to offering you Gmail..."

    So they backup your mails, good, they format them, good, they filter them for UCE, good, they process them to deliver targeted advertising, eh? WTF? This is pretty much saying that they do read your mails (which they denied), in order to deliver advertising, for which they are paid, but it's ok because it's automated. That is pretty shitty.

    "...At the same London event, Ballmer reiterated Microsoft claims that Linux users are infringing the company's patents. "We spend a lot of money - the rest of the commercial industry spends a lot of money - on R&D. We spend a lot of money also licenses patents, when people come and say 'Hey this commercial piece of software violates our patent, our intellectual property,' we'll either get a court judgment or pay a big check. I think it is important that the open source products also have an obligation to participate in the same way...."

    I accept the point that it Linux/Any other OS is violating their patents they should sue/get an out of court arrangement, but they should put up or shut up. Having said that I found the whole SCO thing tedious, I'm not sure I could cope with the carping if MS did the same/a similar thing.

    "...Then he went after Red Hat in particular. "People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation eventually to compensate us," he said..."

    People who use our intellectual property should pay us for it - seems fair enough. Not sure I like the constant going after Red Hat though.

    "...Ballmer also said that "I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows". You can see that gem in the same video..."

    Of course he said that, he was hardly going to say that he wanted all FOSS development on MacOS or Linux was he? How is this even news worthy?

    "...Meanwhile, Steve told The Times of London that Facebook could be a fad..."

    Could be, I like it, but it could well be.

    "... Yes, that's the same Facebook that Microsoft is on the verge of buying - according to unnamed sources..."

    Yeah probably shouldn't of mentioned it if this is the case.

  29. Tom

    Lying toerag

    If RedHat have your code sue them. You can read the code very easily - if you had any decent programmers you could examine every line in RH and show RH where they violate your IP and then they would say 'oh sorry' and cough up not tell you to take a hike.


    a) Balmer is lying through his teeth about IP violations.

    b) and/or his company doesnt know how to write/plagiarise/run even simple software any more and has destroyed any company that might be willing to help.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Had to be done...

    I think Microsoft are going to have some legs, and yet there’s a faddishness, a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to dumber people.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Paul Stimpson

    WTF dose that have to do with what Ballmer had to say?

    Also, I hope he dose sue Linex, and soon. Then one way or another both sides can stop this sillyness. I dont care who wins, just get it over with (Although I do beleave that it will be MS)

  32. Niall Campbell
    IT Angle

    Bug all

    Would I be infringing a M$ patent if a wrote a bug-ridden, error laden OS that caused every computer it operated on to concume as many resources as possible and crash on a regular basis.

    Of course I would, they call it Windoze Vista!!!

  33. Mark

    Microsoft SAP?

    Just wondering if they'd thought that name through.

    As for Google, well on the same interpretation of "reads your email" that Ballmer's using, so does Hotmail. And anyone remember the Hotmail ToS that mentioned MS had equal rights to anything you transmitted or stored through their system, including copyrights, patents and secrets?

    Note: I don't use Google but that's because I don't see any value in their products, though my dad like Picassa.

  34. John Mangan

    @Out of Ammunition

    Good points, Kevin. Ballmer is no loser and MS is still hugely dominant.

    At the moment probably only OSS advocates and fans interpret these attacks as fear because most people are so immersed in the Windows mindset. However I think a tipping point is near where Ballmer's own rants will wake people up to the presence of OSS, initially buying into MS's FUD but slowly realising that there are other, valid options. And then the fun really starts. . . .

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FUD, glorious FUD

    Thus spake SB: "People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation eventually to compensate us," he said.

    Compensate Microsoft for what? If I went to Burger King, should I have to pay McDonalds compensation if Burger King used the same sort of fryer?

    But here's the crux - Microsoft will NEVER reveal these so-called patent infringements. They're using them as a business tool to try and keep a black cloud over Linux.

    If they did reveal the patents:

    1. The opensource community would look for (and probably find) prior art - negating these patents. Ironically, Microsoft itself may well be infringing these techniques.

    2. If the patents were valid, and held by Microsoft, the opensource community would re-write the offending code, thus negating the threat of the patents.

    So the *threat* of these patents is far more potent than the patents themselves.

    I bet you all a virtual pint that these patents will never go away. Neither will they be revealed. It's all FUD FUD FUD.

    If Microsoft were confident in their own business, we wouldn't be hearing any of this nonsense. Why so worried, Steve?

  36. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Steve is off his rocker, and very worried at that

    Yes, I agree with the general consensus. Ballmer has lost his balls, and is frantically trying to grasp at straws to get his company back into the favorable position it used to be in.

    Unfortunately, these days, the words of CEO do not carry the weight they used to - especially when more and more users are noticing just how detached they are from the reality of their every day experience and expectations.

    Bill Gates might not have had as much success without Ballmer, but he gave something positive to the world. In a time where computers could only be useful to engineers, he brought a bit of consistency in programming and an interface a moron could use.

    Ballmer, on the other hand, has funded the infamous SCO litigation spree, given birth to the absolute worst version of Windows the world has ever seen (Windows Me was just incompetent decisions, Vista is deliberate sabotage), and will always be remembered as Monkey Boy.

    Step down, Steve. You're simply doing worse as time goes by.

  37. Andrew J. Winks


    It seems to me that we have a marvellous opportunity for an El Reg survey: a vote for our favourite comment icons.

    Reader suggestions for new icons could also be solicited. Steve Atty's suggestion could go on to the list right away.

    I'd be quite happy for us to lose the peculiar one of Bill Gates under the hair-drier. It's hard to imagine it being used anyway, what with there being no irony icon as yet. (And there's the limit of one per comment.)

    Perhaps even the traditional use of "Yahoo marks" could be reduced to the use of a custom icon.

  38. Anonymous Coward


    I totally agree. I find it difficult to believe that open source can happen on a closed platform with all those insane DRM measures. Sure, there are one or two projects (PuTTY and FFDShow comes to mind), but anything full-fledged? Probably not.

    I also agree that Ballmer should be disposed of. Imo he is to Microsoft what Eisner is to Disney: A dangerous madman that cares about nothing but his own pockets.

  39. Edward Rose

    Should have purchased....

    If MS bought SCO, they'd have 500 odd patents to sue the GNU/Linux community over. Do I have to think of everything?!

    Please remember folks, good advertising will (almost) always win over a good product.

    People flock like sheep, the past few years of tech have shown this time again. It's high time we get more movies and TV shows showing *nix on the desktop instead of MS stuff. RH/Novell/whoever, should look to make a school tailored distro (different for each country) and make a big advertisement campaign telling the world how great it all is - provided it is tailored for the job first.

    Making people believe everyone else is using it is key. Get schools using it (like MS did, very clever) kids take it home. This time legally ;)

  40. david gomm

    sounds more like he's talking up yahoo

    ..rather than talking down Facebook.

    perhaps they'll buy yahoo instead and relaunch the Geocities brand as a social networking hub ?

  41. Andrew Moore


    I was only trying to remember the name of GeoCities the other day- I could remember Tripod and AngelFire and even Xoom but not GeoCites.

    Anyway, last year is was MySpace, this year it's Facebook, next year it will be LinkedIn- None of these sites generate any kind of loyalty- They all reply on "well all my firends are there so I should be too". As soon as the sheeple up and move, that's it. The site because the latest GeoCities.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    MS buying facebook, eh?

    Well then, the first comment should surely read "All your face are belong to us" .....

  43. Maliciously Crafted Packet

    Old Russian proverb...

    He who chases two hares catches none.

    These days Microsoft are chasing more than that. It hard to think of technology business they don't dominate or are trying to dominate. They have just made too many enemies, and seem to be making more every day.

    Just like the IBM of old.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Out of Ammunition

    Open Source is already into the realm of period licences. I work for a commercial website and we pay for RHEL/MySQL on our front end servers. However, all our development systems run at the cost of the bare metal - Open Source means we don't need to pay for licences for these.

  45. analyzer
    Gates Horns

    So which IP does this moron mean?

    After all software patents in the UK, where this drivel was hosted, are very much stricter than the candy corner shop attitude of the USPTO.

    It's unlikely the MS have any UK patents so they can go whistle.

    PS. Reg, where's the "This loony is a moron" icon?

  46. SpitefulGOD
    Gates Halo


    LOL, you guys are soooo funny, Ballmer only says shit like this so that afterwards he can go on line and watch you babies cry!!! Don't worry Red-Hat will finally sign a deal (secret or not) and then you girls will be sleeping with the enemy, no matter what you think Microsoft knows exactly what they're doing, always has.

    "MS need to get rid of Ballmer if they want to survive. Ludicrous claims like this are damaging their own image" - Not a steve jobs fan either then are you? this shit is business banter, everyone pokes everyone else, get over it.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo


    "Mind you they also claimed that you wouldn't need more than 640k of memory and you wouldn't need filenames longer than 8.3 (filename.exe)"

    you don't need more than 8.0 unless you acctually WANT coherant file names and assosiations

  48. Andrew Thomas

    He's right

    Well, he's right about Facebook and Google. Facebook is just a trendy fad for kids (probably disappear in a couple of years) and Google admit they do process your personal information in your emails. How do Google get away with it so easily? Why isn't the Reg attacking Google instead of attacking Steve Ballmer attacking Google?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    MS sue Red Hat or others for patent infringement? Worked well for SCO, didn't it?

  50. Misha Gale

    F/OSS on Windows

    Well actually, there's an awful lot of open source software on windows, because the best open source projects are *cross-platform*., Audacity, various P2P clients, various Mozilla projects, Pidgin, VLC any many more.

  51. A J Stiles

    Ballmer is a d.h.

    Open Source software is almost invariably developed initially on some sort of unix -- whether that be GNU/Linux, one of the BSDs or Solaris -- and only gets ported to Windows because there was no good reason not to. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I cannot honestly think of a single example of a piece of software which was originally developed on Windows and later ported to unix. Also, the fact that TrollTech's Qt libraries have long been available under the GPL (and therefore TrollTech could not prevent anyone from porting them to Windows) yet nobody actually *did* port them, serves only to reinforce my thinking that most developers on the Windows platform are more interested in pirating closed-source payware and developing malware than in developing Free Software.

    As for Ballmer's speech: European and British law specifically *excludes* software from the scope of patentability, so GNU/Linux -- being pure software -- most certainly is *not* infringing any valid patents in the UK or on the Continent. European and British law also specifically exclude enforcement of a new law after the fact; so if British or European law ever changes such that software becomes patentable, then everybody will have to apply for brand new patents (which most probably will be refused on the grounds of prior art).

    And does misrepresenting the law and falsely accuses people of illegal acts [though in this case, the falseness of the accusation derives not from the alleged perpetrators not committing the acts, but from the non-illegality of the acts] with clear intent to scare potential Open Source customers into using Microsoft software and thereby securing financial gain for Microsoft, constitute fraudulent advertising?

  52. MarkMac

    no he didn't...

    Actually Microsoft did not say that 640K was enough, or that filenames needn't be longer than 8.3. The latter comes from CPM (which gets it from an older OS), whereas even if you swap microsoft for gates the former is simply an urban legend.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward indicates MS number is false.

    I would like to know how anything can violate 235 of Microsofts patents in the U.K.

    A patent search on (available from the UK Intellectual Property Office) only turns up 51 patents refering to Microsoft. Even IF all of those where infringed (and I am certianly not saying they are), and all of them are legally valid (and again I am not saying they actually are) then the figure of 235 is still 184 short isn't it?

    And what about the Patent Act 1977 ( ) which states:

    > (2) It is hereby declared that the following (among other things)

    > are not inventions for the purposes of this Act, that is to say,

    > anything which consists of -


    > (c) a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game

    > or doing business, or a program for a computer;

    If you can't patent a computer program then what non-computer program patents is being violated?

    Is it also not a bit hypocritical of Microsoft to be moaning about it's patents, didn't they violate someone elses patents? MP3 anyone? And didn't they distribute their software commercially to a large number of people?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    all these people calling for Ballsup to 'fix Vista'?

    Surely they are as insane as the man himself; he couldn't fix a dripping tap.

    I really, really, really hope Billy-boy keeps him employed. More and more unjustifiable public utterances the better - as eventually more and more public will begin to understand just how venal and stupid the M$ corporation actually is...

  55. The Other Steve


    MSDN online ? Think before you speak. The availability of MS API documentation isn't an issue, the *quality* of that documentation is something that windows developers have been arguing about amongst ourselves for years.

  56. Philip Cheeseman
    Gates Horns


    If they buy facebook - I'm never using it again. Probably stop supporting Firefox (I really like their pro-FF stance).

    If fact I can see it turning into that whole MSN/Windows Live lump of web nastyness.

  57. David Heffernan

    All open source dev should happen on Windows?

    What he actually said, according yo your article at least was "I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows" which is completely different from the article title "Ballmer: All open source dev should happen on Windows".

    Or are you just stirring again?!

  58. Magnus Egilsson

    Ballmer the Sirius Cybernetics executive

    Hey there Mr. Ballmer Destroyer of Intelligent Life on Earth

    Why dont you do as your Sirius Cybernetics complaints division says, "Go stick your head in a pig"

  59. Gordon

    You can't blame him.

    He's just doing his job by attempting to destabalise the competition (Linux), and present a positive image of Microsoft. And that's his job and he'll be fired (and should be fired) if he doesn't do it. He might very well know perfectly well that there is no merit in the patent, and that most of what he spouts is complete crap. But he's hardly going to turn around and say "Oh, don't buy our product. Go and download Ubuntu.. And I'l give you another tip.. Hotmail? Piece of shit, in my opinion... Go and join Gmail - it's really much better".

    I don't think he's telling the truth, but I suspect he knows this. Just take what he says with a pinch of salt.

  60. Gordon

    And another thing...

    You may think he's a "complete tool", but surely "Failure" is pushing it a bit far??

    He's got one of the top jobs in one of the top companys in IT and probably earns more in a day than most people do in a year. I bet his mother is real proud of him, and the day you're doing better you can call him a tool.

    Vista is a white elephant, but that happens sometimes.

  61. regadpellagru
    Jobs Horns


    "People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation eventually to compensate us,"

    "I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows"

    "Google's had the same experience - even though they read your mail and we don't"

    No doubt, someone will have to give back his pills to Balmer. It's been a while, come on, it's no longer funny, naughty boys !

    @El Reg, we've seen uncoherent statements receive their fair share of sarcasm, in those columns, why not those ? Well, sure, I understand Ballmer is now a very vulnerable target, making the world collapse in laugh, but come on, someone will have to deliver !

  62. Outcast

    Wot E sed

    @ The release of the Amiga

    IINM they also said something like...

    What do you need 4K colours and stereo sound for to write a letter ? "Must be a games machine - A toy".

    Hmmmmm !!

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Red Hat

    These accusations have been made a few times now, why don't just go to court for a declaratory ruling. Force MS to put up or shut-up.

  64. Jamie Bowden
    Paris Hilton

    Patent != Copyright

    Rewriting code won't fix a patent violation.

    And where the fuck is Paris Hilton?

  65. Ted Treen
    Jobs Halo

    @Gordon - Yes I can blame him.

    ".......and probably earns more in a day than most people do in a year......"

    No Gordon, he might collect more in a day than I do in a year, but in no way does he EARN it. He is just a schmuck who was fortunate enough to have once been in the right place at the right time.

  66. Syren Baran

    Stop making jokes about Ballmer

    MS patented the act of laughing about Ballmer.

    He´s their inhouse joke and they will sue you if you infringe.

  67. Martin Owens
    Thumb Up

    TV Time for open source?

    >> People flock like sheep, the past few years of tech have shown this time again. It's high time we get more movies and TV shows showing *nix on the desktop instead of MS stuff. RH/Novell/whoever, should look to make a school tailored distro (different for each country) and make a big advertisement campaign telling the world how great it all is - provided it is tailored for the job first.

    Did you not watch Heroes? For some really weird reason Nickey uses KDE to do video streaming, Mahindra uses one of the light weight Linux DE's for his genetics research; I'm surprised they didn't do an ubuntu dance, although it looks like Ando was using windows xp in japan so I guess you can't have everything can you.

  68. Steve Anderson
    Gates Horns

    Re: SCO's patents

    SCO has no patents, their whole thing against the world revolved around a convoluted copyright agreement.

    I look forward to Microsoft having a go at Linux though. It'll make Linux stronger by removing the ambiguity that Ballmer has been sowing the seeds of.

  69. Andy Crofts
    Thumb Up

    @Paul Stimpson


    Today, I did a total upgrade of Ubunutu from 7.04(Feisty) to 7.10 (Gutsy)

    * <Student_Grant> "Actually" </Student_Grant>

    it DID take much of the day. Went to pub, would've been faster, but I didn't realise it'd ask me whether I wanted to do this or that.

    After the install (using it now) - it works flawlessly

    So, why aren't we giving some serious FUD* to Ballmer? After all, he deserves it. Discovery should produce some interesting coding (==stolen=)

    *Anyone remember when FUD was a nickname for female fenitalia - or am I too old? </coat>


  70. J
    Dead Vulture

    Sue, sue! Or not...

    "Actually can we have that as an icon? Steve Ballmer in a jester's hat?"

    I believe El Reg is afraid of flying chairs, so I'm afraid this is not happening. Unfortunately. :-)

    Now, couldn't the open source companies sue MS for slander or whatever is the term? They are clearly trying to damage their business, and doing so by saying (at least so far) unfounded things about them. I thought that could get you in trouble.

  71. Mark


    Odd phrasing, though, from Ballmer.

    Yes, we the FOSS users DO respect MS's IP in Linux. In fact, we respect it so much, we don't have any. And, you'll note, he never *says* that there is any MS IP in Linux, just that we should respect any there is in there and if there were any, to pay up for it.

    Well, that last bit is wrong, since we can just stop using it. But he never actually *says* there's any MS IP in Linux. Maybe because libel is so hard to defend when you are afraid of being specific.

  72. Morely Dotes
    IT Angle

    Here's the facts, folks

    If Microsoft did, in fact, have any *VALID* patents that Red Hat was violating, Microsoft would be in court trying to sue Red Hat out of existence. However, MS is well aware that *every single patent they have ever filed* would be overturned in court because of "prior art" or total lack of innovation ("fails the obviousness test"). Ergo, MS *can't afford* to sue Red Hat.

    So, fact #1: Steve Ballmer is a lying sack of bovine fecal matter.

    Windows Vista has failed miserably in the marketplace. Althouhg MS has succeeded in force many OEMs to push Vista on the unsuspecting new-computer buyer, one of the largest, Dell, will still sell you a machine with Windows XP if you ask for it (because when they tried to force Vista on corporate customers, they bled sales like a whale with an explosive harpoon stuck in). And unlike Halo 3, people who already have computers with older versions of Windows are NOT lining up and clamoring to buy Vista to "upgrade".

    Fact #2: Microsoft is in serious trouble. they have enough cash to stay in serious trouble for a long, long time before going titsup, but unless Ballmer can convince people that Vista isn't crap (and he'll have better luck convincing Osama bin Laden that GWB is a devout Muslim), MS is going to lose the desktop; maybe not to Linux, but someone will certainly take over.

    And those are all the facts one really needs.

    Oh, and since we're talking about Windows - where's the IT angle? After all, Windows isn't an IT product - it's a toy OS for game PCs.

  73. Nazlfrag
    Dead Vulture

    It's magic!

    I know he reads my email, it's part of his sadistic nature. Then again, the complete lack of analysis would explain the preponderance of spam. Just remember to view the trace, folks.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What has Microsoft invented, discuss

    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    OK, my head is going to explode...

    Doesn't anybody remember? Apple was basically given the whole GUI scheme, courtesy of Xerox, Microsoft copied the whole damn thing, the only key differences is that Microsoft's OS ran on an 80x86 CPU and Apples ran on a 68Kseries cpu, Microsoft's OS used two or more buttons on its mouse and Apple has still relied on only one. Past that, MS has stolen or purchased damn near everything it's had its eye on.

    Remember Novell? In my opinion, one of the best real File Server systems ever made; brutally fast and effective at what it did: Serve files. At one time they completely monopolized the file server market... But this one time, in LAN camp, along came Microsoft, with a mediocre product called Windows NT that not only did a halffast decent job at serving files, but it also exploited certain features in the OS on the client machines... That was ultimately the undoing of Novell.

    The Microsoft server class products are nothing more than applications servers that do file serving, as an afterthought, and the PC OS's, while sharing some of the same basic code as the server OS's, are top heavy because of Microsoft's continued reliance on DLL's and glittering examples of flat ass lazy programming.

    The bad news is that Micrsoft as a big ass rainy day fund that will keep it around a good long time... But the good news is that it can't last forever and one of these days, someone will write something for *nix that will make it friendly to the dumb masses who have to rely on the basic "user friendlyness" of Windows.

    Remember, what made Microsoft wasn't the fact they have always had a superior product, because they clearly haven't; what made Microsoft is their ability to market a product into ubiquity and make mass reliant on it and then charge them THROUGH the nose.

    The really cool thing is that we are witnessing history here, we're watching a giant on the backside of its apex and it really has nowhere to go from here except down...

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    lots of gpl on windoze, and it's a blessing indeed......

    cuz now you can dump mediaplayer and use for example VLC which does play mpeg / dvb ( digital tv) etcetera without all the headaches of mickeysoft dll's that dont work or work half the way..... (sometimes)

    + there's (especially on multimedia) a lot of other goodness for windows/linux on sourceforge, usually Qt or wxwidgets based (=linux)

    go and have a look, saves tons of irritation & a few bucks....


  77. James Anderson
    Jobs Halo

    Hes got a point

    My XP machine is my development platform of choice!

    Why? Well my standard dev environment of eclipse, apcahe, php, python, perl all have better easier to manage distributions on windows than they do on my Suse 9 box. Not sure why this should but but thats the way it is. The Suse 9.4 distribution of Eclipse is particularly braindead -- so much so that I normaly use VIM on my Suse box (and yes the Windows version of VIM is better than the Suse version).

    I know I should really upgrade to Suse 10 or Ubuntu but XP is much older than Suse 9 and I still dont feel the need for an upgrade.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Ballmer: All open source dev should happen on Windows"

    "Me: I think Windows Should be Open source Dev"

    MS keep saying they Linux is using MS code, but are sure the MS didn't Steal it from Linux?

    surely for Linux people to copy MS code they would have to reverse engineer the code or something, where are all MS would need to do is download Linux Source files and Copy and paste

    I wonder which is more likely MS having Linux code or Linux having MS code :)

  79. Nick


    "surely for Linux people to copy MS code they would have to reverse engineer the code or something, where are all MS would need to do is download Linux Source files and Copy and paste"

    He's talking about patents rather than copyright. You can infringe a patent without copying the code.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Microsoft is dumping advertising at a loss

    Here the numbers:

    They're paying out more in revenue than they get from the advertising. It looks like they're dumping advertising at a loss.

  81. Paul
    Dead Vulture

    MCSE - Microsoft's Certifiable Steve Embarassment?

    I'm torn.

    On the one hand, I want to see Stevie B wrapped up in one of those nice, close-fitting jackets with the arms stitched firmly into place, then dispatched, heavily sedated, to a locked rubber room in a secure facility, where he can no longer do himself or anyone around him harm. He is clearly a nut job, fruit loop, has a screw loose, isn't playing with the full deck of cards, and is a few KB short of a MB, so to speak.

    On the other hand, leaving him in charge carries a small chance of bringing Microsoft down from the inside, by causing them to make stupid business choices and over time, become a laughing stock among the very people who currently buy their crap.

  82. kevin elliott

    Microsoft Can't Sue

    For microsoft to start sueing over patent infringement would be idiotic:

    1 There's no guarantee the patents would hold up in court

    2 There's no money in the OS companies to make a campaign worthwhile (unless IBM were to buy Red Hat...) - except for Novell...

    3 Judging by the Riaa and music infringement, public opinion would be swayed so far against MS that sales would be heavily affected

    4 If MS went against OS, other big guys would be forced to step in with their patent portfolios and use them against MS

    5 If it turned into a protracted battle, there'd be so much attention on MS that it would create an opening for Apple to move from a trendy, but not so sensible alternative, to a real, everyone's buying it - no legal battles - product.

    6 The head of their patents/IP operation is ex-IBM. He knows just how much is waiting to be thrown at MS if they do more than shout...

    So far better to posture, shout and intimidate, rather than bring any real actions to court. To do so would weaken their position considerably and be committing commercial suicide. It'd be MS vs IBM, Sun, HP, Red Hat, Novell Apple as well as many others. .. i.e. MS vs the world.

  83. Nick L
    Gates Horns

    Lessons from near history, part 1: SCO vs the world

    Remind me, wasn't there a company a few years ago that made the very same claims against Linux, and went after IBM for <Voice=DrEvil>Five Billion Dollars</voice>?

    Remember SCO? They're now in Chapter 11 and fighting damn dirty to convert someone else's money into the pockets of their directors, lawyers and friends.

    They also had a crack at Novell and, for good measure, their customers too. Add Redhat to the mix for a battle on many fronts that SCO themselves initiated.

    "Literally millions of lines" of infinging code which violated their copyrights and patents were trumpeted by their CEO. MIT "Deep divers" had found evidence of copying. In Germany, there was a briefcase full of evidence.

    This all, in reality, came down to the square root of sod all and IBM is on the verge of skinning them alive for Lanham act violations (not to be confused with Langham violations).

    Or they would be if SCO even owned the copyrights they're trying to assert. It rather looks like Novell actually owns those.

    Novell was about to take the tune of around $30million dollars from SCO that SCO had misappropriated as their own but really owed Novell due to a reseller agreement in place. A big lump of that license money came from Microsoft. By entering chapter 11, they've claimed that that judgement is stayed. Just before entering - the day before IIRC - they increased salaries, awarded bonuses etc...

    To the cynical, it looks horribly like Microsoft may have been watching SCO from the wings, encouraging where they can. Now SCO is crushed so many ways, are the Redmond boys with the Big Wallets going to wade in? They've got Novell on their side - well, ish. Novell has taken the King's Shilling...

    MS would not be foolish enough to go after IBM with their Nazgul. So redhat it is, then!

    I expect the War on Open Source to be likened to the War on Terror: there's no enemy that they can go after, so they're fighting on every front. Expect more repression of freedom that you currently enjoy with your software...

    I can see this going very badly for Microsoft. Very badly indeed. I don't understand why they feel the need to make such public and idiotic unfounded statements. Are things that bad that they need to look at doing a SCO?

  84. David

    Re: Iconography

    Yes, the new comment icons are great, but am I the only one to think that the "I'll get my coat" icon looks worryingly more like "Pickpockets operate in this cloakroom"? I'm sure his left hand is definitely rustling around for a wallet, rather than innocently picking up his 'own' jacket..

    And surely we need "Happy Tux" and "Harpooned Tux" icons, too, to match their rivals. And daemons, gnus, mozillas, dogcows, rainbow-tickmarks, ...


  85. JC

    Fun for the kids

    ... when the Steve Ballmer Traveling Circus comes to town. I'm a bit amazed MS keeps him around, or maybe this is their solution to give Steve "busy work", but they had no idea at the time what trouble a monkey can get into.

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