Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mandriva Businesses Education Microsoft

Mandriva's Open Letter To Steve Ballmer 357

Posted by kdawson
from the should-have-denied-bill's-visa dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An entry on the Mandriva Blog, written by Mandriva CEO François Bancilhon, says that the Nigerian government, after ordering thousands of Classmate PCs with Mandriva Linux installed, has suddenly decided that they will instead install Windows. They will pay for the pre-loaded Mandriva Linux on the low-cost computing devices intended for children in the developing world, but immmediately replace the OS. The blog doesn't quite use the 'B' word but does suggest that this was not a decision that the Nigerian government made on its own."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mandriva's Open Letter To Steve Ballmer

Comments Filter:
  • excuse my stupidity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tritonman (998572) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @08:59AM (#21195943)
    but what is the "B" word? Blackmail?
    • by RandoX (828285) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:01AM (#21195969)
      My question too. Bribe? Buy-off?
      • by RailGunner (554645) * on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:18AM (#21196211) Journal
        Considering that Microsoft paid off Panasonic to drop Blu-Ray [dailysellout.com] (despite Blu-Ray being ahead in sales of players and media), I'd suggest the B word is "Buy-Off".

        (Of course, MS denies that they paid Panasonic anything, but as far as I know the NY Times is sticking to it's story. Maybe it's semantics - say a personal check from Gates is not the same as a payment from Microsoft...)

        What version of Windows? If it's XP, well, the jokes on Nigeria. If it's Vista, then that's just cruel and unusual punishment.
        • Yes, because we all know the NY Times is a paragon of journalistic integrity.
          • Yes, because we all know the NY Times is a paragon of journalistic integrity.

            Point taken - but Jayson Blair didn't write that article...

            That, and the NY Times isn't the only rag to report that.
        • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @12:18PM (#21199121)
          Um, the crap that you're spreading was about *Paramount* dumping Blu-Ray, not "Panasonic". (Panasonic still supports BR (foolishly IMO, since 95% of BR players sold are Sony PS3s, while Panasonic and the others are left to fight for the remaining 5%).)

          I skimmed your link but didn't find any reference the NYT story that you say "the NY Times is sticking to". Rather, I saw a bunch of BR fanboys in tears, blaming Microsoft for their troubles. The NYT story to which you refer is Two Studios to Support HD-DVD Over Rival [nytimes.com]
          The story cites two unnamed Viacom execs as saying that Paramount received 150 million dollars in financial incentives to dump BR for HD-DVD, but they don't say who the source of the financial incentives is. The same story goes on to *quote* *named* Microsoft VP Amir Majidimehr as denying speculation that Microsoft was the source of any such financial incentives (he said that while it may be that someone paid off Paramount, it wasn't Microsoft). The NYT "sticking to its story" doesn't say much, since the NYT didn't accuse Microsoft of anything. One could just as easily say that the NYT is sticking to its story that Microsoft didn't pay off Paramount, since their story has nobody accusing Microsoft of such and has Microsoft denying speculation of such.

          Besides Microsoft VP Amir Majidimehr, Microsoft's Kevin Collins also went on the record saying that Microsoft made no payments to get Paramount to dump BR.
          Microsoft Responds to Bill Hunts claims of a buyout [avsforum.com]

          Microsoft's version of the story has since been proven correct.
          Blu-Ray fanboy Bill Hunt, the primary spreader of the "Microsoft paid off Paramount" story, admitted that he was in the wrong:
          Oopsie! Bill Hunt does a mea culpa. Now can the conspiracy theories stop? [avsforum.com]

          The idea that Microsoft paid Paramount to dump BR was something that BR fanboys grasped onto (glossing over the fact that Sony did pay off Target to cease stocking HD-DVD players on the shelves).

      • 1. "You install Windows and we'll give you $100 per machine."

        2. "You install Windows or we suddenly stop ignoring how much pirated Microsoft software you're running."

        Probably a combination

        "You install the Windows we give you on those machines and we'll continue to ignore your pirated software."
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Shakrai (717556) *

          2. "You install Windows or we suddenly stop ignoring how much pirated Microsoft software you're running."

          And exactly what is Microsoft going to be able to do to a sovereign Government that pirates their products? Sue them in the United States District Court?

          About the only thing I could see happening is they push the US Government to push the WTO to punish them, but this assumes that Nigers economy isn't already in the shitter and that are a member of the WTO (are they?) to begin with.

    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:01AM (#21195975) Homepage
      Bribery.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:02AM (#21195985)
      Bevelopers, bevelopers, bevelopers!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by darkcirc (103212)
      Bribe :-)
    • No, not blackmail, and NO not bribery, but its a word that is obviously a synonym... BALLMER!
    • by aiwarrior (1030802)
      Quote:but what is the "B" word? Blackmail?

      I do not have mod points but the parent's question is legitimate.
      Actually articles that got phrases like "b,c,etc words" should not get to the front page. Besides there being hundreds of words that start with b, it's just bad journalism to write in such a childish way. If you don't want to say the word because it's rude or inappropriate there are most likely synonyms in the English language.
      I'm not an english native speaker and i can find a lot of meanings for "b wo
    • by njfuzzy (734116)
      Bully, Bribe, Ballmer, Bastard, Backpedal
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Given that Nigeria is around 50% Muslim, Baksheesh [wikipedia.org] is probably the best B-word to use in this context, as it's less prejudicial than "Bribery"

      It could well be that Ballmer and his friends are making a charitable gesture by donating / heavily discounting 17,000 Windows licenses - there's probably a nice little earner in it for whoever is running the project too, as 17,000 Windows installs will take a good deal of manpower / project management / consultancy fees etc.

      • by wile_e_wonka (934864) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @10:16AM (#21197133)
        I don't think merely donating or heavily discounting Windows would do the job if the government was "sold" as the open and custonizability aspect of Mandriva. I think the cost to Nigeria for Windows would have to be negative to get them to pay for and ship Mandriva and then pay the cost of replacing Mandriva with Windows. By this I mean that it seems to me that the only way for this to make economic sense is for Microsoft to cover the cost of Mandriva, the cost of a replacement, and then add something for incentive to replace Mandriva at all. (that last part we call a bribe)
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      So many things could have swayed them.

      - Bribes
      - Blackmail
      - Boobs
    • Bill
  • Nigeria (Score:5, Funny)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:02AM (#21195979) Homepage Journal
    I'm not even sure that Nigeria is a real country. I keep sending government officials there money - and they keep saying I'll be rich but it never happens. How do you bribe people like that?
  • Pretty bold. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:03AM (#21195987) Homepage Journal
    There are those who are going to say that what Microsoft did isn't wrong and that it's 'just business'. If Bob's Concrete Construction paid the government $1 million to get the contract to build a new major freeway bypass, you guys would be calling it bribery. But when it's Microsoft paying the government to use Windows you call it business.

    Someone with this viewpoint -- please explain this fanboy logic to me.
    • by AndersOSU (873247)
      Well that's not quite right, because it wouldn't be in the concrete companies best interest to pay in order to build a freeway. It would be more like the local concrete business making certain campaign donations, and then being selected as the contractor for a freeway bypass even though their bid came in more than $1 million higher than an equally capable competitor.

      Or if a local concrete business lowers their bid by embedding their advertisement in the concrete of a publicly owned road.

      Or if a local concr
    • by Ed Avis (5917)
      Has anyone provided the tiniest bit of evidence that Microsoft paid the Nigerian government? Or even that they had any influence at all in the decision? Plenty of people install Windows on a PC without a personal visit from Steve Ballmer, just as you and I run Linux without Linus's personal intervention. Perhaps the Nigerians just decided they like Windows more.
    • by pentalive (449155)
      Perhaps microsoft pointed out that they *could* run this non-standard, unsupported, toy-like OS or they could run Windows the standard of business everywhere, and supported too. In other words, they employed FUD.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ByOhTek (1181381)
      Paying an official to make the decision: bribary
      Donating the product for free: Donation
      Giving the government (not an official) more money than the value of the product, on the condition it is used: Hybrid of both?

      Regardless, I think the fanbois will say that MS didn't bribe them, and Nigeria just came to their senses, and realized a better product was available. Never having used either solution, I can't say where I stand. However, reading that open letter tells me why Mandriva is not, and will never be a m
      • However, reading that open letter tells me why Mandriva is not, and will never be a major player as long as Mr. Whiner is in charge. The tone seemed more of a bitchfest than anything trying to acquire more people in his court, without actually moving for a change.

        I don't understand what he thinks he could possibly achieve with this letter. He could get the publicity by just stating the facts, without whining, without accusations, and letting the readers connect the dots. Now he really does sound like a school kid that's been bullied, a cry baby. Without a shred of evidence, this is more like defamation than anything else. And if he actually does have some proof (which I doubt) he'd be better off showing it rather than just spreading rumours.

  • Wait,,, (Score:5, Funny)

    by hkgroove (791170) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:05AM (#21196021) Homepage
    But they will only only be able to pay for the rest of the Windows licenses after Ballmer sends the first 1000 licenses upfront, which will enable them to free up the treasury money.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:05AM (#21196023) Journal
    Fishy things have been going on in Classmate PC Vs OLPC. Recently I read that Microsoft & Intel have already begun shipment [reuters.com] to Libya of their classmate PCs. Libya had agreed to buy 1.2 million OLPCs [slashdot.org] but, of course, they aren't available yet.

    What's really strange is I can't find anything on this from Microsoft or Intel. You're providing 150,000 laptops at only $200 each to a developing nation for the purposes of education and you don't have a press release outside of that country? Maybe they're just being humble? Or maybe someone was leveraging their ex-boss's many donations to African medicine & development [gatesfoundation.org] to convince the Libyan government to take a different route?

    You know, it's great that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is donating all that money to research and aide but if word gets out that they're using that to influence who those countries do business with, I don't think anyone's going to be impressed anymore. There's something fishy going on here, I'll bet you start to see many more countries make the switch to Classmate PCs over OLPCs ... and not for the technological reasons that they should be concerned with.
    • by nagora (177841)
      You know, it's great that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is donating all that money to research and aide but if word gets out that they're using that to influence who those countries do business with, I don't think anyone's going to be impressed anymore.

      They've been doing it subtly for years. They never make it a condition of the donations but its made clear that gratitude is expected, and that a Christmas card probably won't cut it.

      TWW

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:09AM (#21196079)
    REDMONT, WASHINGTON.

    ATTENTION: THE PRESIDENT/DICTATOR

    DEAR SIR,

    CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL

    HAVING CONSULTED WITH MY COLLEAGUES AND BASED ON THE INFORMATION GATHERED FROM THE MICROSOFTIAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE TO REQUEST FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE TO TRANSFER THE SUM OF $47,500,000.00 (FORTY SEVEN MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) INTO YOUR ACCOUNTS. IF YOU ARE ABLE TO REPLACE THE LINNEX SOFTWARES ON THE PC COMPUTER LAPTOPS YOU HAVE PURCHASED WITH WINDOWS, WE WILL BE ABLE TO GIVE YOU A KICKBA--CONSULTING FEE FOR YOUR TROUBLED ASSISTANCE.

    YOURS IN MAMMON,

    WILLIAM (BILL) GATES.CX

    frickin' lameness filter, that's what the scams look like, how else am I supposed to write them? Don't mess with my joke. Defeat the filter, clog the filter, replace the filter with genuine GM parts....
  • by rm999 (775449) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:09AM (#21196089)
    Shouldn't we wait for some more specific information/evidence before we accuse Microsoft of bribery? If Mandriva stops short of this, perhaps we should too - after all, it's a serious charge.

    I'm sure Microsoft had something to do with their decision, but *maybe* it simply came down to convincing Nigeria that its product was better. It sounds like they are giving Windows out for free, that may have impressed the Nigerian government, and does not constitute bribery.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wylfing (144940)

      It sounds like they are giving Windows out for free, that may have impressed the Nigerian government, and does not constitute bribery.

      Er, no, but it does constitute dumping [wikipedia.org].

  • by RandoX (828285) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:09AM (#21196093)
    From one perspective (although undoubtedly an unpopular one here on /.) a free copy of Windows is worth more than a free copy of Mandriva. If MS came by later and offered free, or heavily discounted copies of Windows, I could see how Nigeria would accept it. After all, it vastly increases the range of applications that are now available for them to use. It's a great deal for Microsoft. Get those Nigerian kids entrenched in the Microsoft camp at a young age. Like I said, it may not be popular here, but I can see how this deal could be viewed as good for both parties by both parties...
    • by RayMarron (657336) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:22AM (#21196263) Homepage
      Except for the fact that it used to be a $200 laptop with free upgrades and more free applications you can shake a stick at. Now it's a $200 Windows computer. The version currently installed may be free, but the next one won't be. Nor are a majority of the applications it has available. In my eyes, the cost of that machine over its lifetime just went WAY up.
      • by westlake (615356)
        more free applications you can shake a stick at.

        How many of those free applications have been ported to Windows or began as a native Windows app? Think OpenOffice.org., Firefox, and countless others.

        How many of the remaining apps are even remotely of use in the elementary classroom?

        How many have been localized for Nigeria?

        How many Windows apps are used - and are licensed for use - in the Nigerian classroom?

        If a kid has access to a computer outside of school what OS does it run? If a kid sees his dad a

    • by mhall119 (1035984)

      If MS came by later and offered free, or heavily discounted copies of Windows, I could see how Nigeria would accept it.

      Yes, but even a free copy of Windows takes time and manpower to install, which isn't free. I'm sure to make this offer viable, Microsoft had to offer some department head a grant to cover paying all those workers $100/hr (that's a standard rate, right?) for their trouble.

      I would be shocked, shocked I tell you, if the head of that department were to pay his workers only $2/hr and pocket the rest of the money for himself, that would be unethical. Of course that would in no way be Microsoft's fault, right?

    • by siddesu (698447) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:47AM (#21196613)
      But I'll give you another perspective, by necessity pure fiction, of how it could work. Suppose there is this small Eastern European country, nevermind which one. It has a minister in charge for the state administration. He could be a small, nerdy guy with heavy glasses on a big nose. His salary isn't great, and he has a lot of expenses.

      So, what has he gotta do? He's gotta make some money on the side. But how? Well, he figures, he'll get a "commission" on what his department pays. He doesn't know much about IT, he doesn't care much about his department. But he knows how much his expenses are. So, he makes a calculation. He needs X. His commission rate is Y. The total budget he needs is Z = X/Y or thereabouts. Then, he goes shopping.

      What does shopping look like? He has some people he trusts, very few. They make some calls, private. They talk about lotsa things, but one thing is repeated. "We have budget Z, and we need an offer". The people being called of course know what Y is, so they figure out they got Z-Y. They make some offers. The minister picks his candidates. Then real work begins.

      The suppliers can only be chosen by winning a bid. So, the already agreed offer is then carefully drafted into the conditions for the bidding, in such way that only the chosen can win. Then, after all preparations, the bid is announced, applications are gathered by all -- suckers and winners, and, after a procedure, a winner is announced.

      Sometimes suckers try hard. Real hard. They do a lot of work (including some trash-digging and what you not), and even manage to win. But they win the public auction. They never win the one the minister has set up, because they have never had the minister's offer -- it is not for everyone. So, if they win, the minister loses.

      That is why even if they win, they never win. There is always a change afterwards, and they kicked out. On a technicality, or a new rule, or just on a whim -- it doesn't matter. They can't win, because they don't even compete. That's how it could work on one side.

      Consider the other side now. A big software company is determined not to let go of the market in that country. But what is the market there? First of all, there are the home installs. These are all pirated, and collection is not possible. So, the software vendor scratches them out. For now. There is the business sector. They are also kinda semi-legal, and need to be squeezed, but for that the vendor needs the helping hand from the government. So, the vendor scratches em out ... for now. Finally, there is the government. First, they gotta be legal. They have reputation to mind, besides, there are always those "free trade" incentives the vendor can play. Besides, there is the Z - Y thingy.

      So, the vendor invests a (small) amount in an office, hires some very shrewd local staff. Pays big salary, taxis, etc. All they need to do is get the government deal. So they do. The vendor doesn't want to know how, of course. So they play the "we're so blind" game. Somehow someone in the vendor's office gets the call. Then they are on it. They give the offer. They win.

      Then the fun begins. The vendor's formula is usually setup so that from the first (Z - Y) they get enough to finance their operations in that country for a decade. Then another deal comes. And another. The more, the merrier. Until the budget is used up, it is all Z - Y. Relations improve. Then, the government starts to squeeze on the businesses. Then on the home users. And the vendor keeps profiting. The relationship can expand publicly -- and it could be "free" sometimes. Like, all government employees receive "free" licenses for home use. Or some schools get "free" licenses. Or some instiutions. There maybe some protests from other interested parties.

      But, whatever happens on the surface, the game is the same. There is always the Z - Y equation in the background. Those who don't compete in that auction never win. Even when they do. And so it goes.
    • Most of what you say stopped being true in the late 90s.

      If MS came by later and offered free, or heavily discounted copies of Windows, I could see how Nigeria would accept it.

      For it to even start to break even, M$ is going to have to pay to have it installed as well as providing all of the required software free of charge. Note that M$ does not own all of the software required, like Adobe Reader, Flash and countless other must have software packages.

      [Windows] vastly increases the range of application

    • by russ1337 (938915)

      a free copy of Windows is worth more than a free copy of Mandriva. If MS came by later and offered free, or heavily discounted copies of Windows, I could see how Nigeria would accept it.

      I see the exact opposite actually happening. Microsoft will most likely have to come up with a cut-down OS for this device, which means some development/testing. This will lead to it taking longer than first expected.

      The people using Mandriva will be offered the 'free upgrade', which turns out to break a whole bunch

    • Assuming that MS is truly giving away Windows for free then I have to believe that this is either an abuse of monopoly power or a case of illegal dumping. Selling a product at a loss in order to undercut a competitor has got to be illegal somehow, doesn't it?
  • From the comments:

    Anonymous said,

    November 1, 2007 at 4:02 am

    François,

    Why are you assuming that Microsoft did something underhanded? It could very well be the case that a deal with Microsoft is more viable for the Nigerian goverment in the longer run -

    - Their products are tried and trusted. Yours is still an unknown quantity.

    - Their customer support is supposedly very good. How about yours?

    - Maybe the TCO for Microsoft's solution is lower than your solution.

    I'm in no way taking sides. But you m

    • by Entropius (188861)
      The "TCO" of Linux laptops, if you have reasonably smart monkeys using them, is virtually zero. Want them to do something they don't do already? Go download it. They're doing something you don't want? Google it.

    • is that Anonymous==Steve B or Anonymous == Billy G?
  • by noddyxoi (1001532) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:30AM (#21196367)

    begin troll:
    So I began in DOS 3.3, then i upgraded to 5.0 , 6.0 windows 3.1 ... windows NT, 95, 98, me, xp, with some linuxes, redhat, slackware, etc in the middle and then i finished my OS evolution in Mandrake, that latter became Mandriva.

    I paid for all the hardware/software from my pocket in between all those evolutions. And now those ugly, poor, ignorant, future scammers africans kids will get a free laptop that would come with the best OS i found until today for free ?!?!? NO WAY !!!! Make them known that evolution doesn't come for free ! GIVE THEM VISTA !!! Make them know that evolution has a path and a price ! Leave them to suffer with Vista light with DRM and crippleware, don't forget to install norton antivirus and WGA. After that when they think that they can live well without computers offer them slackware linux, them give them gentoo, and when they understand the evolution of the OS finally let them install Mandriva. :end troll

  • There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Market.
  • we shall pay for the Mandriva Software as agreed, but we shall replace it by Windows afterward.
    I am curious what the Nigerian's side explanation is. Obviously this is a stupid decision, if they concluded that using Windows is better/cheaper, they should have figured this out it initially. Perhaps they'd get a better offer, or at least they could have avoided such a dramatic change of the set-up.
    • I could be wrong, but I doubt it's possible to input Nigeria's major languages (Hausa, Yoruba, etc.) under Linux-- certainly not in a default Mandriva installation. (Back when I tried out the distro, I couldn't even get Japanese working.)

  • ..even in Europe, let alone in places where corruption is almost the expected behaviour.
  • From bribing standards board of sweden, to bribing nigerian government. microsoft is losing its edge it seems.
  • Yeah, it's completely impossible that they received their computers, were dissatisfied with Linux because it wasn't what they were used to, and decided to wipe the drives and install (no doubt pirated) Windows on it. It has to be Microsoft's evil blackmail machine.
  • So in today's news, first the BBC is in bed with Bill Gates [slashdot.org]. Now, Steve Ballmer is giving the-b-word - aka blow jobs - to Nigerian officals.

    If I was in Redmond today, I wouldn't drink the water....
  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:53AM (#21196733)
    Considering MS's war of extermination - I all Linux users do what we can to make Linux absolutely perfect hardware issues permitting. I mean, I want Linux distributions that are truly superior in every way possible to Windows. I want to make these people sorry they were every born. Mandriva is my distributor and my Linux of choice. While I support all things Linux and would never pose one Linux user against another, I am willing to learn C and C++ forwards and backwards. I will code solutions and drivers for Linux myself if I have too.

    We should stop waiting around for others to do our work for us and stand on our own merits. Let me give an example.

    We are closer to an Exchange solution than everyone thinks. If eGroupware and Kontact supported Kerberos over XML-RPC, Exchange would be finished. eGroupware and Kontact replicate all the features of Exchange and has a technologically superior advantage of funneling everything over HTTP. But it doesn't support Kerberos so it becomes a total nuisense to configure. The fact that Evolution does not support XMLRPC at all is just insane.

    On the Open Office Front. Continue to support ODF, if changes need to be made to ODF to support more features, extend the features. Create versions of ODF backward and foreward compatible. And do whatever it takes to reverse engineer OOXML so that OO.org can read them, and resave them as ODF. Lets start really getting serious and making the bastards pay.
  • If you are in charge of purchasing IT for a government, or a school, and you want free stuff from msft, just announce that you are going to use Linux.

    Presto! Msft reps at your door! The reps have boat loads of software, hardware, training, service techs, and bribe money.

    Better yet, get Linux on hardware that's much too low-end for Vista, get a major hardware upgrade, at msft's expense, then go back to Linux.

    Or, just take a big fat bribe from msft, and tell the government that Linux, ODF, whatever, won't wo
  • The reasons for the switch are plain as day. Its hard to fully integrate Linux and Exchange. Nigeria has an economy that gets a huge boost from SPAMing. Everyone knows that if your serious about SPAMing you use Exchange. They would have been doing a huge education disservice to the children their if they did not educate them using the tools they will be using in the future careers as SPAM server admins. They would have been denied an opportunity to become familiar with industry leading SPAMing tools, s
  • is a crime in Europe and recently, there was quite an upheaval (and still is) with Siemens, where leading officials had to go, probably got penalized and investigations are still going on (not following all the details there).

    The obviousness of this "B" deal and the country (Nigeria government apparently open to bribe) is pretty clear and it will be interesting how this plays out in the US. Maybe the same as democracy - he who bribes the most (shoots the most money in election campaigns) wins and rules the
  • I Don't Get It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theManInTheYellowHat (451261) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @10:12AM (#21197061)
    So they had a computer loaded with a bunch of apps and an OS, all tuned for the device. Then they wipe that off and put some version of Windows with write, paint and Outlook Express on it? Hopefully they got minesweeper and solitaire too, with the promise of porting Freecell with the next service pack.
  • Hey Steve, how do you feel looking at yourself in the mirror in the morning?

    Like every other morning, he throws a chair at himself.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @10:17AM (#21197159) Journal
    Even if MSFT has bribed the officials and gave away Windows for free to erase Linux from the Classmate PC, once word gets around, that the best way to squeeze a nice deal from MSFT is to install Linux first. Then everybody and his brother and his dog will ask for the same deal.

    Further businesses too will realize their negotiating power with MSFT will increase if they could bluff that they are switching to Linux. Again if MSFT calls their bluff and they could not switch, then they would be a deeper hole. So at least a few businesses would realize that the best way to negotiate a deal with MSFT is to reduce their switching cost to Linux as low as possible. Those companies will eschew deep ties and multiple levels of dependency on MSFT tools. This is how monopolies crack in free markets. Illegal acts by the monopolists can prolong, sometime by very long time, the cracks. But if the monopoly the Church had over the affairs of Europe for 1000 years cracked, why not MSFT's control over businesses for just 2 decades?

  • Microsoft has a very large and very visible presence in Africa that goes far beyond the Geek's loose talk of bribery --- a search of allAfrica.com will return about 1000 news stories in English alone. Here is a small sampling:

    Africa: UN Partners With Microsoft to Bring Technology Benefits to Millions [allafrica.com]

    Nigeria: Microsoft Releases 'Unlimited Potential to Learn'" [allafrica.com]

    Nigeria: Microsoft Contributes 47 Percent to Nigeria's IT and Economic Growth [allafrica.com]

    Mandriva is a small company with a small presence world-wide. Micros

  • Offshoring (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeff Hornby (211519) <jthornby@sympaBO ... minus physicist> on Thursday November 01, 2007 @10:24AM (#21197277) Homepage
    To everybody who thinks that the only reason that Nigeria would switch to Windows is bribery, I offer another possible explanation (note that I have no more evidence for this than anybody else has for bribery allegations):

    Nigeria is one of the few countries in Africa where the economy is not a complete basket case. These countries (particularly South Africa, Botswana, Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria) are currently setting up call centres and have stated long term goals to become off-shoring destinations. While there is some off-shoring in the open source world there is a huge market for off-shoring in the Microsoft world. Perhaps the government of Nigeria is looking at that market and thinking that they could take a chunk of India's off-shoring revenue in a few years. If so, training their people to use Windows machines instead of Linux could be considered an investment in the future.
  • I'm sorry, but Windows is required by the "Nigerian Scam." Thus Linux just won't do. Years of development have gone into the automated spam generating programs required by it.
  • Even for non linux-enthusiastic users, replacing linux by windows on this offer cant be a choice based on a technical and unbiased decision. First, the hardware (i will assume the intel site is updated and match this offer) : http://www.classmatepc.com/classmatepc-system-hardware.html [classmatepc.com] "DDR-II 256M SO-DIMM" Last time i tryed to use windows XP with 256mb ram, it wasn't exactly fast... Add any word processor on the top of it, and you can be sure scrolling on a reasonably small document with images will be a v
  • by mrjb (547783) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @11:21AM (#21198201)
    Clearly the open letter was written in an emotional state of mind. Just short of calling names, François insinuates that something fishy went on (and something very well may have), but it doesn't seem he did his homework to figure out if this suspicion was justified. As there is no proof, it rests on only assumptions. Those assumptions may very well be justified, and even correct- but until he has proof, they are just that: assumptions.

    Good thing François didn't actually call names because that would have been slander (please excuse my English Legalese if I used the wrong term).

    Now if I would be Steve, and almost be called names based on nothing but assumptions after winning a round fairly, I don't think I would care much. The taste of victory would just be too strong.

    If I *would* have bribed someone, I'd probably care even less. The letter doesn't tell me anything I don't already know.

    If I would be Steve, had bribed someone and someone could prove it- Now that might make make me throw around a chair or two.
  • Is it going to be Win95 or 3.1 or something? From what I can tell, the specs for the Classmate PC are woefully pathetic to reasonably run XP, let alone Vista. Or are brand new high-end laptops part of the deal between MS and Nigeria, too?
  • by Starky (236203) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @10:31PM (#21206883)
    The other posts seem to lack the cultural context to understand what the Mandriva CEO was intimating and what may very well have happened.


    Bribery and corruption is just a fact of life in most of the world. I have been living in a developing nation for over a year now, and I can say from experience that most Slashdotters who are writing from the U.S. or Europe have no idea how endemic, and even accepted, corruption is outside the West. If the allegation were true, it would not be the least bit surprising to the average Nigerian.


    Microsoft would not bribe the Nigerian government. They would bribe a few well-placed officials, then charge the Nigerian government enough to cover both their costs and their bribes and earn a tidy profit.


    Supposing the alleged allegation is true, the winners would Microsoft and a few Nigerian decision-makers. The losers would be the Nigerian taxpayers and/or, if costs were passed on to the schools that use the computers, the children.


    However, if a bribe were given, under the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), someone at Microsoft would be criminally liable. U.S. citizens who bribe overseas government officials are subject to prosecution at home.

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

Working...