Microsoft: Not worried about open source patents

PORTLAND. Microsoft’s Sam Ramji is a popular guy here at OSCON. He literally got mobbed after giving a talk by open source types angry at Microsoft for a long list of grievances.

Ramji delivered a keynote address here in which he talked about how Microsoft is working with the open source community. In the Q&A that followed he responded to a question about patents something that I have never heard from a Microsoft executive before.

“We don’t worry about
infringement of open source code,” Ramji said. “Developers should never have to worry about it.”

Ramji also told the audience that Microsoft has never litigated against users.

One of the funniest exchanges between Ramji and the OSCON audience was the following:

“Do you feel like you’re screwing a porcupine and you’re one prick
against thousands?” the OSCON audience member asked Ramji.

Ramji politely replied:

“It takes time to change and I knew that I’d be unpopular when I took this job but I’ve
got sponsorship from Ray Ozzie directly.”

OSCON audience members didn’t leave Ramji alone once he left the stage either. Just outside of the keynote hall a large group of people surrounded him for 15 minutes peperring him with questions. Throughout it all I saw his PR people watching nervously.

To Sam Ramji’s credit he stood his ground and talked to just about everyone that approached him. Ramji claims that he wants to be open and honest with the open source community and I think that today he tried hard to prove that.

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