A new twist to the Open Source vs. Proprietary war is Microsoft claiming that the use of Open Source Software (OSS) in other countries could expose various and sundry people in those lands to copyright violation lawsuits. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's highly paid shill, goes on to say, in effect, that non-USA users of Linux and other such OSS could be sued by US parties laying claim to intellectual property rights that Linux developers have supposedly misappropriated. I had to laugh when I read this, as it sounded more like old fashioned diplomatic saber-rattling than pragmatic business advice.
How does Ballmer intend to sue these folks? Is he going to send a special ops team over to capture the offenders and drag them back to Redmond for trial? Does this bozo (Ballmer) really think that software developers in India, China, Korea or other locations where OSS is being welcomed with open arms give a damn about Microsoft and their "intellectual property rights?" I'm right here in the USA and I don't give a damn. Ballmer's hubris goes way beyond anything else I've ever seen—even Bill Gates isn't that overblown. In fact, Ballmer's arrogance transcends anything that was ever exhibited by the robber barons of nineteenth century America.
Anyhow, in this OpEd piece at Really Linux, the author rebuts Steve Ballmer's FUD-mongering and points out that this sort of "ugly Americanism" can only widen the political and idealogical chasm between the USA and other lands. When an executive of a US company—a convicted monopolist despised by much of the world—tells other countries how they should conduct their business, I really would like to get into said executive's face and remind him that he's merely a businessman, not a member of the diplomatic corps. In other words, Mr. Ballmer, speak for yourself, not the rest of America.
By the way, be sure to click on the CNN link at the bottom of the OpEd piece for more information.
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I just invent, then wait until man comes around to needing what I've invented (R. Buckminster Fuller)