The invitation that Mark Shuttleworth politely extended to developers of the OpenSUSE Linux distribution has been met with mixed reactions by that community. Most are negative, some are positive. Mark anticipated the controversy when he said:
“I know that posting this message to an OpenSUSE list will be controversial. I’m greatly respectful of the long tradition of excellence in the SuSE product and community and have no desire to undermine that with this post. That said, I think the position taken by Novell leadership in their contract with Microsoft is hugely disrespectful of the contributions of thousands of GPL programmers and contributors to SuSE, and I know that many are looking for a new place to get involved that is not subject to the same arbitrary executive intervention. Ubuntu is one option, as are Gentoo, Debian and other communities. Please accept this mail in that spirit”
Despite this, it seemed to throw gas in the already raging fire.
My opinion? The negative reactions in that mailing list are more like OVERREACTIONS. Relax, people. It was a friendly invitation with GOOD intentions! You don’t have to accept it if you don’t like it. Seems like Ubuntu’s popularity (justified or not, profit or not) is making some other distro communities jealous?
According to an article written by Eric Lai at Computerworld.com, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer believes that the open-source Linux Operating System “uses our intellectual property” and Microsoft wants to “get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders from our innovation.”
“I guess Ballmer figures if he can’t eliminate Linux, he can ‘blackmail’ his way into owning a piece (or pieces) of it. Seems I recall a problem with Linux/Unix sometime back, and Microsoft had duplicated the code so closely that they had the same problem in Windows. I guess this “intellectual property” idea only flows one way in Microsoft’s world. God knows they haven’t benefited in any way from anyone else’s work.”
Of course this falls on the heels of the November 2 deal involving an agreement by Novell and Microsoft to improve the interoperability of their competing software products.
Back in June 2001, Steve Ballmer declared that “Linux is a cancer”.
Ubuntu forum members are clearly not pleased with Microsoft.
Hopefully, this will cause more people to realize what Microsoft really is and seek alternate Operating Systems.