Linux users challenge Microsoft to "Show Us The Code"

Spy @ Bink.nu reports: In a move that hardly has me falling off my chair with surprise, a group of Linux supporters have issued an open challenge to Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer to "Show Us The Code".

The issue stems from Ballmers' claims that some components of Linux infringe on Microsofts' intellectual property. The "Show Us The Code" website is challenging Microsoft to actually disclose the portions of code they believe Linux has copied. If Microsoft does disclose the infringing code then, this site claims, the Linux community will actually remove and/or re-write it to comply with IP rights.

Something tells me Microsoft will not be accepting this challenge anytime soon.

News source: Bink

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21 Comments

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Either Ballmer has some humongous balls to say this without backing it up or he has lost it completely. The guy has been MS's mascot since the beginning of the 90's.

Something tells me Microsoft will not be accepting this challenge anytime soon.

In that case, I hope MS isn't charging them for anything special either. They can't go on about making claims without being able to point at even fragments of code Linux may be using. It also escapes me what kind of code Linux may even be using. It's hard for the Linux community to do anything special here as long as they hear nothing specific of it from MS.

The big question IMO is -- why did Ballmer say this without following up on this?

The intention seem to have been to make a claim that's impossible to verify (because MS has refused to clarify what they're talking about), to cause uncertainty and doubt about using the Linux codebase.

I dont think he ever said they copied the code but rather they are infringing on some of their intelectual proprtties (patents) which wouldnt require them to have access to the code to do.

As for why they didnt follow up on it wasnt it just a small exert from an interview or speech or something. Microsoft NEVER made a deal of it including ballmer. Its the global blogging community thats made this small claim seem like MS have a huge issue with Linux or something. In the end this article is just some stupid baiting by a few linux followes to stir people up.

Why wave around lawsuit threats, threats that will cost Microsoft in a court room as well as the defendants?
They have plenty of money, I doubt they'd lose much. And they know that Linux (at least not the commercially backed community) doesn't have the money to go to court of this.

Kreuger said,
They have plenty of money, I doubt they'd lose much. And they know that Linux (at least not the commercially backed community) doesn't have the money to go to court of this.

It's actually quite the opposite. Microsoft is hurting right now, mainly do to all the hardware dumped in the Xbox 360's and selling them off for such a low, affordable price. Not to mention, the price of Vista proves they are in dire need of cash. Bill Gates may be one of the richest men in the world, but that doesn't mean Microsoft is the wealthiest company in the world.

Linux developers aren't in the same boat right now. Sure, the majority of Linux operating systems are free, but there are lots of donations that go to Linux developers, as well as support from various companies. A lot of "games" may not have Linux support, but a lot of companies back Linux developers, and they make their funds like that -- a lot of studd is designed on Linux-based machines. They also aren't dealing with a lot of third party things that also eat up funds.

Mistwaver said,

It's actually quite the opposite. Microsoft is hurting right now, mainly do to all the hardware dumped in the Xbox 360's and selling them off for such a low, affordable price. Not to mention, the price of Vista proves they are in dire need of cash. Bill Gates may be one of the richest men in the world, but that doesn't mean Microsoft is the wealthiest company in the world.

Linux developers aren't in the same boat right now. Sure, the majority of Linux operating systems are free, but there are lots of donations that go to Linux developers, as well as support from various companies. A lot of "games" may not have Linux support, but a lot of companies back Linux developers, and they make their funds like that -- a lot of studd is designed on Linux-based machines. They also aren't dealing with a lot of third party things that also eat up funds.

! LOL

Puh-lease.

Right now there're too many companies basing their business on linux. The OIN members alone are enough to give MS some though problems... MS is big, but not that big.

This isn't going to elicit so much as a polite cough from Redmond unless someone with a bit of influence is asking the question. Nobody in the Linux community, Enterprise or otherwise, fits that bill; I'm talking about someone who informs public and enterprise opinions on the global scale.

Get Oprah asking. Get an op-ed piece in the Washington Post (or maybe Forbes at a stretch). Get a government minister of a First-World country to raise the question publicly (so law-lords take note). Get Bono! Something seismic, otherwise the world sees nothing but a hissy-fit between business rivals.

If you can think of anyone who fits the bill and might actually give a ****, write to them.

Microsoft won't even bother giving them the information they want, the violation probably isn't that significant that Ballmer knows that he will profit more by saying thing like "Linux stealing from Microsoft" rather then suing.

"Show us the Code"... Ballmer didn't claim that there was copyright infringement , specifically. He just used the vague marketing term "intellectual property". That is most likely patents, since Microsoft would likely have fiercely gone after code-copying immediately (source code leak would be treated very seriously, I presume). There are also trademarks and so-called "trade secrets" as part of "intellectual property". Linux isn't using any trademarked Microsoft logos or product names, nor has there been any midnight raids on the Redmond campus to steal secret information from vaults. (at least no raids that *I* was involved in) ;)

So, "Show us the Patents" would be more accurate. The message is the same, though. Show the Open Source community where you believe infringement exists (either directly, or through court action) and let the infringement be removed.

But, of course, we all know that having a "legally clean and blessed by Microsoft" Linux would not benefit Microsoft at all. And that, my friends, is what this is all about. Generate Fear of being sued by Microsoft, Uncertainty of the legality of running Linux, and Doubt about any product without a Microsoft logo.

Excellent post. So, MS wouldn't have to disclose any of their propriety code, just the patents that Linux *might* be infringing on.

markjensen said,
Generate Fear of being sued by Microsoft, Uncertainty of the legality of running Linux, and Doubt about any product without a Microsoft logo.
a/k/a PR spin doctor FUD

markjensen said,
"Show us the Code"... Ballmer didn't claim that there was copyright infringement , specifically. He just used the vague marketing term "intellectual property". That is most likely patents, since Microsoft would likely have fiercely gone after code-copying immediately (source code leak would be treated very seriously, I presume). There are also trademarks and so-called "trade secrets" as part of "intellectual property". Linux isn't using any trademarked Microsoft logos or product names, nor has there been any midnight raids on the Redmond campus to steal secret information from vaults. (at least no raids that *I* was involved in) ;)

So, "Show us the Patents" would be more accurate. The message is the same, though. Show the Open Source community where you believe infringement exists (either directly, or through court action) and let the infringement be removed.

But, of course, we all know that having a "legally clean and blessed by Microsoft" Linux would not benefit Microsoft at all. And that, my friends, is what this is all about. Generate Fear of being sued by Microsoft, Uncertainty of the legality of running Linux, and Doubt about any product without a Microsoft logo.

When they say 'show us the code' they are referring to code within opensource licenced software that violates Microsoft patents.

Obviously if Microsoft claims there are violations, they must also must know which projects and exactly what technology is in violation of patents in the said application.

It is nothing more than a sad attempt to screw money out by claiming something that may or may not exist by merely using marketing force and banking on end user ignorance and stupidity into believing that there is some sort of violation.

SCO couldn't show the code in Linux kernel which violated their copyright and neither will Microsoft be able to prove any patent violation because the simple fact is, Balmer opened his mouth before putting his brain into gear.

Something tells me Microsoft will not be accepting this challenge anytime soon.

Then that is as good as an admission to Ballmer's FUD. It is not MS responsibility to promote the growth of the competition, but if they are making wild accusations that are designed to hurt others, they need to put their money where their pie-hole is.