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back to article Mandriva bigwig (nearly) accuses Ballmer of b-word

Mandriva CEO François Bancilhon has asked Steve Ballmer what it feels like to look at himself in the mirror. In an open letter to the Microsoft head honcho, posted to the web late last night, Bancilhon claims that the Nigerian government has somehow decided to install Windows on 17,000 brand new PCs already equipped with …

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Anonymous Coward

I bet

I bet there are a good few Nigerian officials living it up. MS will give their shit away as long as it locks in another generation of users.

However I'm sure Steve is pleased as a fly on a turd and is laughing right now at the lame ass letter.

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Just got this in my inbox

I AM NGOBI ABDULLAH NKOMO, THE WIDOW OF THE FORMER MINISTER OF EDUCATION IN NIGERIA; I HAVE IN

MY POSSESSION SEVENTEEN THOUSAND MANDRIVA LINUX

LICENSES FROM MY INHERITANCE. I NEED YOUR HELP TO

MOVE THESE OUT OF THE COUNTRY.....

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Paris Hilton

Angola

At least Mandriva still have Angola yes?

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Tom
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Jobs Horns

Sounds like a 419 to me.

What they could do is sell the Microsoft licenses (they are worth something), and keep the Linux boxen. Some government official must be very happy.

The things you can do with all that money.

For conspiracy addicts: The US Stock market fell by over 300 points today. Coincidence? You be the judge. The money had to come from somewhere!

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Gates Horns

Now all thats needed

Is to show the clever kids how to get back to the original mandriva software... and watch the resulting cerfuffle... no doubt the children would not be allowed to use their pc if it uses anything other than microshite.

Although to be fair... Balmer is probably a big fly laughing on the ball of microshite...

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Anonymous Coward

From Intel's website:

Processor

Intel® Mobile Processor ULV 900 MHz, Zero L2 cache,

400 MHz FSB

Chipset Intel® 915GMS + ICH6-M

Memory DDR-II 256M, 512M SO-DIMM

LCD 7” 800 x 480, LVDS Interface, LED B/L

Storage Device 1GB for Linux*, 2GB for Windows* XP Pro NAND Flash

Doubt it's going to be running Vista with this setup, unless Ballmer is sponsoring the required RAM and storage upgrade as well.

As for the Nigerian government's behavior, nothing unexpected. It's just a shame to watch the kids suffer for the sake of their corrupt officials.

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Gold badge

Zimbabwe next?

Only in Zimbabwe could the price of Windows increase faster than it does in the UK.

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Coat

At least..

..they will continue to produce obvious document forgeries by using mspaint, as opposed to what they could be using, the more professional GIMP.

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Dead Vulture

they need windows

just to make sure all their scam email is compatible !

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Business

"How do you call what you just did Steve, in the place where you live?"

Where I live it's called business bitch! Now get over it.

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Gates Horns

Good, these are the last people we want on UNIX!

UNIX is not for the likes of scammers and spoofers. I'd rather these people stick to messing Windows up with scams and tojans and Western Union transfers.

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Paris Hilton

Why not ?

Buy Mandriva and get Windows + a 'small' gift for free. Sounds like a good deal to me. They can always switch back, once they realize how crappy XP runs on those 900Mhz Classmates.

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Pirate

Heroin...

...is usually free at first. The users only start paying once they've become dependent.

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I feel bad for them...

As I say, I feel bad for them. XP is going to run like shit on a machine like this. I've run Ubuntu on slower machines and it runs well.. with 128MB it cuts the speed by about 25% due to swapping, but 256MB it's fine. With GBs of RAM, it can load each app off disk the first time you run it then basically never touch the disk again. Mandriva will be similar I think...

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Pirate

Poor Sods

Bribery? Is this about alleged Bribery? Is some Nigerian official now living the high life at the expense of his countrymen? (slavery changes its form) or did they just make the Nigerians aware that the Western World uses Windows unfortunately?

I'm sure that in Balmer's short lifetime (prime heart attack candidate), he'll see the rise of Chinese personal computers running whatever is free (Linux no doubt). People will laugh at the these cheap machines, just as they did when the Japanese made motorcars, bikes and cameras, but they replaced western industries just as the Chinese are doing now. I'm sure they'll have the last laugh.

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Anonymous Coward

Kind of reminds me of...

the story of the geeky virgin who swears he's going to save himself for the woman of his dreams, but winds up making it with a really hot older woman... Oh yeah, and after the fling, he walks away with syph. The screwing you get for the screwing you got.

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Gates Horns

Not that I'm cynical or anything, mind you...

"Microsoft operates its business in accordance both with the laws of the countries in which it operates and with international law. Microsoft does not comment on customer procurement processes."

...but generally, as soon as someone says that he followed the letter of the law, I tend to read it as a tacit admission that he knew full well that he violated the *spirit* of the law.

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Coat

Shock/horror

there's corruption in Africa? and Microsoft as a party to it?

no way...

coat/door/bye.

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@ Niall

And Mandriva's response is called business too. They are continuing to fight for this business, just as are Microsoft. Exposing your competitor's unethical practices is very good business. So what's your problem, bitch?

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Dead Vulture

Wow! I can smell the corruption from here . . .

Assuming this is a real story, it truly stinks of corruption. As another poster mentioned, only the kids will have to suffer using that MS shite -- all just to fill the pockets of those greedy monopolists. A pox on the Redmond scourge, I say.

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Alert

Poor Old Africa

I think they might be shipped with Windows ME (anyone remember that cockup?)

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Pirate

The begining of the end...

When you've reached the point where you're bribing corrupt politicians or officials instead of concentrating on making your product package a legitimately better and more attractive solution... When you don't realize that this sort of unethical practice only has a limited lifespan... When don't seem notice that your own product is lagging further and further behind what your competitors are offering... And you think you can keep getting away with it... then its only a matter of time... Empires rise and empires fall... Toward their end they are usually dirty and messy and pathetic like this.

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Gates Horns

We all pay for M$ to do this

Meaning home users, businesses, governments in the developed world pay M$ outrageous license fees - thus allowing M$ to offer China or these fine Nigerian folks a OS + Office for $3 or less. In effect we're all underwriting this activity everytime we buy a M$ product.

And working in a school (doing tech support) it really pisses me off when school districts pay license fees to these goons --- or vampires at a highly inflated rate (compared to $3).

At this point I only deal with M$ as its part of my job -- OS X & Linux are my primary personal OS's at home ...... Bill and Balmer can rot in hell

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Gratuitous Simpsons referrence

To quote Nelson Muntz.( on the first Nigerian BSOD)

"HA ha."

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@Vaughan

Really ? .. point me the way of the free scag dude ..

Really, several million minus points for a rubbish analogy.

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Flame

Call the waaaambulance

As soon as Microsoft come along with a proper grown up product, and displace Loonix from one of its tiny sucesses, the Linux faithful's only response is "they must have bribed the government". Obviously nothing to do with Windows being better, or a desire to have interoperability with 95% of the world. Oh no.

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Pirate

@ Heroin...

Drug dealers and computer salesman both refer to their customers as "Users"

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Black Helicopters

One more reason

I simply consider this one more reason why I'll be switching over to FreeBSD on my laptop the moment there is a good replacement for the following two apps:

--RealFlight G3 (This app alone saves me a lot of money each year)

--LightRoom.

I will have to manage without CS2 (No need for me to upgrade to CS3 yet, and given its lock in to two unethical os vendors, I doubt there will ever be a need to do that).

So if anybody has any good replacements for those two, that will run on FreeBSD (read again: FreeBSD!), I'd be glad to make the switch.

//Svein

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Anonymous Coward

The B-Word??

Am I the only one wondering what the B-Word is meant to be? The common (if you can call it that) meaning of b-word is b*itch. Oh Steve, you're such a b*itch!!?

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@ Bloody_Yank

You mean to say that here in South Africa I should really only be paying around R21 for Windows (at US$1 to R7) instead of the R3000 I have to fork out? Hmmm, seems that the message never got through to the resellers down here.

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Jobs Horns

Hah :)

"we're worried all those Nigerian school children will soon be using an OS that has difficulty running more than one application at a time"

If this is your experience of Vista it maybe time to upgrade the 486?

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Look to your own house

Why should we feel sorry for a generation of students in a foreign country who don't get to use the better OS - when we are happy to insist our own kids use the MS stuff?

The Nigerian govt (corruption aside - I did live there once) has a duty to educate their kids in whatever environment *we* impose on the modern business world. As long as we insist young employees understand how to use Windows-based software then educating them in something else is wrong. We should get our own act in order - any UK school that uses Windows should ensure they don't use Word, or IE or anything that'd make OS independence harder for students and employers.

Peru is a shining example of how *we* should be acting, but we can't seriously expect developing countries to take the lead in FOSS when the 1st world businesses treat it like a dirty secret.

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Re: We all pay for M$ to do this

Unfortunately, there are certain applications, and certain pieces of hardware, that can't be used with Linux, thanks to companies who seem to enjoy kissing MS' arse. Added to that the difficulty of buying a machine without Windows installed and many people, myself included, feel they have no option but to pay for a copy of Windows. I feel more inclined to blame these companies for this kind of situation than MS itself -- after all, a corporation is there to make maximum return on the shareholders investment in the short term, and nothing else.

Luckily, more and more companies seem to be supporting Linux, and the likes of Dell are pre-installing Linux on some machines (admittedly a token, and pointless gesture at present).

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xjy
Gates Halo

Bribery

Since the procurement obviously came a long way to be loaded with Mandriva in the first place, then it was overturned at a fairly high level in the hierarchy. Which means the number of bribes was necessarily small, allowing for a greater sum in each case.

An excellent problem for maths students - optimal government level to maximize individual bribe lure while minimizing total cost of bribery (TCB).

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Coat

I've seen Windows XP running on this kind of a hardware

some cheap & old Toshiba laptop with 256MB of RAM. The processor was more powerful, though - and still it was unbelievably slow. Nigerian children and teachers won't be happy with it. Most likely they will replace it with Linux anyway, very soon. Mandriva needs only to make sure they will have quick & convenient way to do it.

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Jobs Horns

In accoradnce with the law?

"Microsoft operates its business in accordance both with the laws of the countries in which it operates and with international law."

Oh sure. That explains the multiple convictions MS got in multiple areas of the word. Hey, Microsoft even has a conviction for software piracy on its rape sheet http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/05/10/microsoft_winds_up_on_both/

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@Bloody_yank

"thus allowing M$ to offer China or these fine Nigerian folks a OS + Office for $3 or less. In effect we're all underwriting this activity everytime we buy a M$ product."

If it were softwood instead of software, your Congress would be screaming bloody blue murder about dumping.

Where is the WTO?

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Gates Halo

Bribery Allegations

Ohh, I'd calm down on those. Alleging corruption, without proof. After the recent football + message board ruling. You could soon find yourselves in court facing the might of Microsofts lawyers.

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Flame

Or maybe

they had a second look at Mandrake and went, this is shit, my wireless device doesn't work, let's have Windows.....

and cue flames....please use capitals, that really makes want to stay in tonight.

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Nigerian mirrors

Nigeria - 'nuff said. May the people of Nigeria soon share in the prosperity and wealth that lies in their land.

What does Balmer see when he looks in the mirror? Just the room behind him.

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I can see what happened here

Nigerian customer purchases Linux.

Nigerian customer tries Linux.

Nigerian customer rejects Linux.

Nigerian customer has a quick look at OS X then realises everything sucks except for Windows.

Nigerian customer chooses Vista.

All is well with the world.

And the second letter of the alphaxet is quite unnecessary.

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Joke

Microsoft operates its business..

"..in accordance both with the laws of the countries in which it operates and with international law."

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Format

This is just to show the Nigerian Kids how Shitty there PC's will run with Windows on them, teach them how to format a hard drive and install a real OS on it!!

NIGERIANS ARE SMART!

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Enmity

Certainly there's enmity between these two. However, it's not like Mandriva didn't get paid. Why these people would want to pay twice, is beyond me. MS must have sweetened the pot somehow. It couldn't be through giving away copies of Windows, so it must be in the form of other subsidies, or some kind of philanthropic donations to other causes. Unless this is entirely personal, it certainly illustrates that MS is beginning to really fear the encroaching Linux user base and Open Source movement--over which it has no control. Without going into Windows problems, and how much of a resource hog Windows is, especially with some of the equipment likely to be in use in a third-world nation, I find it a shame that they decided to be tied to MS. If they'd have chosen Linux, they'd be much more independent from the US, and corporate interests, and I imagine it would have been far cheaper in the long run for them. Of course thinking for yourself is poison to most governments and big business.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Bastardry perhaps - but no worse

It seems remarkably odd to suggest bribery was involved. It is hardly as if any would really be needed.

On the whole I'm sure that both sides would regard the exercise as one of hard bargaining, and of the sort that has gone on in Britain with MS versus open source for a while. Government chooses product A over produce B as a lever to try to drive the vendor of product B to provide better pricing. If it succeeds everyone is happy. Now if it turns out that MS made the price zero, well, it is very likely that the Nigerians involved felt that they had done a very good job.

One thing you almost certainly won't find in Nigeria are laws related to predatory pricing and monopolistic behaviour. They are are bit of a first and second world phenomenon. Long term this deal may not be a great idea for MS. You can be pretty sure that every other third world nation will be expecting a similar deal. And will be expecting repeats. There is an element of brinkmanship - can MS get each nation hooked before it ramps up the prices? One suspects that the answer will be no. It is too late in the game. But if you were a shareholder in MS (and given their size and share's reputation as a good safe harbour for fund managers - you probably are) you would be asking hard questions of its management if MS didn't give it a go.

In all it is business as usual, with no real change from any other large business.

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@Duncan Hothersall

"So what's your problem, bitch?"

My problem is they lost the deal and his reponse is to spit the dummy in public it just makes him sound like a whinger. I'm mean surely everyone already knows what depts MS will go to.

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Stop

Of course it's illegal...

... in international law.

The Nigerians had plenty of opportunity to buy the Windows version and must have been offered a very good deal by MS at the time. They declined. They went for the Mandriver offer and then suddenly decide to buy Windows AS WELL. How can buying both be a better deal? If Windows were free it would still cost them to do all the reinstalls. So they must have been offered Windows and something else to make it worth their while. If Ballmer didn't directly bribe someone, and this is Nigeria after all <sarcasm>not the affluent west were no one ever takes a bribe </sarcasm> and buying somebody is relatively cheap, then MS must have agreed to do something for somebody, Build a dam, equip an air force, That kind of thing. Smacks of desperation to me.

I would LOVE to work in the MS accounts office to see some of these invoices come through. e.g.

From: Lagos Limousine Hire and Gvt Supply Co

for supply of transport for MS sales staff to/from logos international airport on the weekend of .......... $250,000.00

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Alert

Nigerian government links with MS

It's unclear whether the Mandriva deal was with the Nigerian federal government, a state government or a local government. If it's the Federal Government then they already have a deal with MS, so they wouldn't pay any extra to install XP on those systems.

Microsoft also encourages the use of its products by providing 'free' training courses for Federal Government employees. It's likely that some money is diverted to senior officials as well, that's just the way business is done there (not too different from here, just more blatant).

There are two good reasons for using Windows in education in Nigeria:

1. Somebody is going to have to maintain those systems. They're much more likely to be familiar with Windows than some Linux distro. Local knowledge of Linux is very limited.

2. Users know what applications they want to use. In particular Microsoft Word and Corel Draw. People want the 'genuine' product, not what they regard as a 'fake' substitute. Windows apps are also what children are much more likely to encounter outside school.

I've just completed two and a half years working in IT in Nigeria. My enthusiasm for spreading Linux was rapidly worn down by the realities there.

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Go

On the matter of "the letter of the Law"

It's always perfectly lawful to bribe the lawful authority. This works very well for MS in most countries and in the United States in particular. If the EU was just a little more obliging, MS would have no legal worries in the world...

'nuf said...

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