Microsoft memo: Linux fight backfiring

Some of Microsoft's efforts to disparage open-source software such as Linux have backfired, according to a recent memo by the software maker.

Top Microsoft executives, including co-founder Bill Gates and Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, have long derided open-source software as being everything from a "cancer" to "Pac-Man-like." But those messages have failed to diminish the popularity of open-source programs such as Linux among developers and customers, according to a Microsoft memo distributed at a strategy meeting in Berlin in September.

"Messaging that discusses possible Linux patent violations, pings the OSS (open-source software) development process for lacking accountability, attempts to call out the 'viral' aspect of the GPL (General Public License), and the like are only marginally effective in driving unfavorable opinions...and in some cases backfire," the memo states.

Microsoft representatives declined to comment Wednesday on the memo, but its authenticity was confirmed by a person familiar it.

The memo, which was posted this week on Opensource.org, summarizes a project at Microsoft called "Attitudes Towards Shared Source and Open Source Research."

As part of the project, the company conducted a telephone survey of developers and other IT workers in the United States, Brazil, France, Germany, Sweden and Japan. The total size of the telephone survey was not noted, but the memo states that outside the United States "individual country and audience sample sizes are extremely small."

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News source: C|net

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