Linux CEO lashes out at Ballmer

After seeing Windows wedge its way into a deal with the Nigerian government, Mandriva's chief criticizes Microsoft's competitive tactics.

After a chorus of peace deals between Linux vendors and Microsoft, it's almost refreshing to hear that some open-source companies still have fire in their bellies.

Fresh off seeing Microsoft move in at the last minute to grab part of a deal with the Nigerian government, Mandriva CEO Francois Bancilhon posted an "open letter to Steve Ballmer" in which he lays into the Microsoft chief for his tactics.

Bancilhon said that Mandriva was close to a deal, when Microsoft turned up the heat.

"I would not say it got dirty, but someone could have said that," Bancilhon said. Despite the competition from Microsoft, Bancilhon said that Mandriva managed to win out and get the order. But this week, just as machines were shipping, he said Mandriva heard that the Nigerian agency will still pay for Mandriva's software, but plans to replace it with Windows.

"Hey Steve, how do you feel looking at yourself in the mirror in the morning?" Bancilhon wrote in the letter. "You have the money, the power, and maybe we have a different sense of ethics you and I, but I believe that hard work, good technology and ethics can win too."

A Microsoft representative was not immediately able to provide a response to the Mandriva letter.

It's the latest war of words between Microsoft and the Linux world. Linux vendors have split over whether to sign a peace deal with Microsoft over patent issues, with Mandriva firmly in the "no deal" camp, along with Red Hat. TurboLinux signed a deal with Microsoft last week, joining Novell, Linspire and Xandros, who have all inked deals under which their users won't be sued by Microsoft for any Linux-related intellectual property claims.

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About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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