October 25, 2003

Ballmer: Unclued

Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of the Redmond Horde (that would be Microsoft), is saying some really stupid things about open source software. Here is the highest achievement in nonsense I've read in a while:

Why should code written randomly by some hacker in China and contributed to some open-source project, why is its pedigree by definition somehow better than the pedigree of something that is written in a controlled fashion?" he asked. "I don't buy that."

What Steve Ballmer doesn't realize is that his own company takes virtually the same approach, hiring some young coder from Kentucky or Bangalore to write a bit of code that gets appended to Word or Windows, but without the feedback of coders and users that are incorporated into the collective decision-making that produces open source software. The market decides in open source whether the code written by the hacker gets incorporated into the product or shaved off and discarded because there are better solutions available.

At the same time, Ballmer says Microsoft will pursue more consulting and services business, which is the core of the open source financial model -- but he is going to try to do it with a closed system that embeds people who don't know the source code of the tools they use as intimately as an open source service provider who might actually have written the code in question.

Posted by Mitch Ratcliffe at October 25, 2003 05:49 PM | TrackBack
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