Darwin's Theories Blog

New Theories for a New Time

Open Source is Free; Microsoft Free to Continue the Big Lie

CBR Online quotes senior Microsofthead Steve Ballmer speaking to analysts about their deal with Novell: "I would not anticipate that we make a huge additional revenue stream from our Novell deal, but I do think it clearly establishes that open source is not free," he said, "and open source will have to respect intellectual property rights of others just as any other competitor will."

Clearly Balmer is arranging his smoke and mirrors to try to make it seem that all open source consisted of violating Microsoft's intellectual property. In fact, the converse is true: Microsoft remains a net consumer of open source, going all the way back to using the BSD TCP stack in early Windows, to basing "Windows for Unix" on OpenBSD's userland code. And, the position he is clearly trying to advocate - without coming out and saying it, of course, is equally false. Microsoft is well known for patenting things they did not invent; see their recent embarassment at trying to patent ideas they freely admit they copied from the BlueJ IDE.