Microsoft's Latest Fiasco: Reader Response

Dennis Faas's picture

Sound Off!

Yesterday, we asked Infopackets Subscribers what they thought of Microsoft's latest fiasco: the claim that various Free Open Source Software (FOSS) developers have violated some 235 Microsoft patents -- and now Microsoft wants to collect royalties.

So, is Free Open Source Software really doomed -- or is Microsoft simply grabbing straws in hopes of resurrecting lost Vista sales?

Infopackets Reader C. Williams was the first to chime in:

" Okay, I'll admit it. I've been using a PC since late 2001, and during that time, I have used Windows exclusively. However, my experiences with this OS have been full of heartbreak and frustration.

I cannot believe my eyes when I see the prices they charge for their software. $300 for an operating system, $600 for an office suite, and now they want me to call them to activate this software? What's next? A urine sample? What makes all of this so infuriating, is that on top of the ridiculous demands that MS makes for its software, they don't release a quality product ...

... [With respect to running Windows Vista]: buying a PC is an expensive venture. I've been wanting to get one of those new fangled multi-processor systems for a couple of years now. But I'm on a poor man's budget, so I'm stuck with yesterday's hardware [and so, Vista is out of the question for now]. But, as I study Linux more and more, I realize that I may not need to upgrade, anyway. Linux could help me keep this old computer in a usable form for at least another five years ...

I haven't made the switch [to Linux yet], but I'm giving it serious thought. The only thing that stops me, is the fact that Linux hasn't gotten easy enough for the average Joe yet. There are many factors when it comes to conversion. But, it still has promise, and I'm gratified to see the world beginning to give Linux a second look. Give it a few more years. I'm willing to bet that this is just the beginnings of a new revolution in computer software ... "

Lee W. agrees:

" I think that Microsoft is running scared. The new [Linux] Ubuntu 'Feisty Fawn' and other open source operating systems are [in my opinion] better than Vista -- and are free! How long are people [willing to] pay for an inferior product? "

Colin S. thinks it's all a bluff:

" If Microsoft was sure litigation was an option they would have done it years ago as the source code for Linux has always been freely available. Microsoft cannot win because there are approx 10 million programmers working on Linux at this point in time. How can Microsoft identify each and every programmer past and present? This is a bluff to get more sales of Vista and other software. "

Robert P. writes:

" Microsoft is just fishing for sales. If they really had a legal leg to stand on, they would have sued already ... This is just another way to attack open source because it is starting to hurt Microsoft's bottom line. "

Paul M. agrees with Robert:

" It would appear to me, that MS is doing this because Vista has fallen flat on its face. Corporate MCSEs that I know are bypassing Vista and sticking with XP or XP/Linux combinations. It seems far-fetched that the Linux kernel would infringe on MS patents: it was developed and is maintained by Linus Torvalds -- who I am sure didn't and doesn't borrow from Windows. If MS wants to get technical, maybe they're infringing on GUI patents by Apple, or Commodore (remember GEOS?) who both had GUIs before MS Windows came out. I tell people, as do my IT and Tech friends, to stay away from Vista -- there's just too many incompatibilities, drivers lacking, and too steep hardware requirements. MS is once again, throwing their weight around, and trying to bully or intimidate those they can't beat them with better products. For a company that spends $6B yearly on research and development, how do they produce so much buggy [code]? "

James W. comments:

" I do not believe this will affect free open source software. [Microsoft's patent claims may] temporarily scare some people ... [but then again, Microsoft just] might find themselves back in court again ... [Personally], I believe [Microsoft is] ripe for the picking. I have Vista and would gladly use a different product if I could find one that would work with all of my software. I don't [particularly enjoy going out to] purchase all new software [again just to make everything work together]. "

Jeff X. imagines a world without Microsoft:

" This is ludicrous ... [I wonder if] Microsoft is now in the habit of finding open source beta versions and filing 'patents' on the code, or what the code does (as the case may be) in an attempt to take the market on that idea. It doesn't surprise me that they are taking this tactic... I'm actually surprised it hasn't happened sooner. They're counting the days until the world gets fed up with the mediocre support on their software ... The day will come when every computer is running something non-Microsoft. "

And finally, Jon W. writes:

" Microsoft's accusations against 'Intellectual-Property' infringement just might bring the country and western music industry to a screeching halt. With all the three chord songs about beer and pick-up trucks and love gone bad, who's to say who wrote the first one? They all sound alike to me. Microsoft is wagging the dog, so to speak. "

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