Microsoft attacks free software vendors

Linux is a free operating system, competing directly with Microsoft Windows

The reason why open source software is often of extremely high quality is because it was stolen from Microsoft . That's what Microsoft is saying. It's claiming that free and open source software (FOSS) has violated a total of 235 of its patents.

Apparently the Linux kernel violates 42 Microsoft patents. The Linux GUI makes 65 violations, Open Office suit makes 45, and 83 other violations have also been listed out.

And while Microsoft has claimed in the past that FOSS software has violated its patents, this is the first time that the giant has gone into detail on specific cases.

"We live in a world where we honour, and support the honouring of, intellectual property," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in an interview with Fortune .

More to come

"[FOSS users are going to have to] play by the same rules as the rest of the business. What's fair is fair," he said.

Meanwhile, Eben Moglen, legal counsel to FOSS, says that Microsoft's claims have no merit. He insisted that software is just a mathematical algorithm and as such cannot be patented.

Microsoft wants only one thing out of this: money. Presumably the company thinks it is entitled to royalties out of these FOSS-ware companies, something which potentially threatens the 'free of charge' status of software like Linux.