You can find the original letter here.
Hi, this is François, from Mandriva.
I’m sure we’re way too small for you to know me. You know, we’re one of these tiny Linux company working hard for our place on the market. We produce a Linux Distro, Mandriva Linux. The last edition, Mandriva 2008 was seen as a pretty good version and we’re proud of it. You should give it a spin, I’m sure you’d like it. We also happen to be one of the Linux companies that did not sign an agreement with your company (nobody’s perfect).
We recently closed a deal with the Nigerian Government. Maybe you heard about it, Steve. They were looking for an affordable hardware+software solution for their schools. The initial batch was 17,000 machines. We had a good answer to their need: the Classmate PC from Intel, with a customized Mandriva Linux solution. We presented the solution to the local government, they liked the machine, they liked our system, they liked what we offered them, the fact that it was open, that we could customize it for their country and so on.
Then your people entered the game and the deal got more competitive. I would not say it got dirty, but someone could have said that. They fought and fought the deal, but still the customer was happy to get CMPC and Mandriva.
So we closed the deal, we got the order, we qualified the software, we got the machine shipped. In other word, we did our job. I understand the machine are being delivered right now.
And then, today, we hear from the customer a totally different story: “we shall pay for the Mandriva Software as agreed, but we shall replace it by Windows afterward.”
Wow! I’m impressed, Steve! What have you done for these guys to change their mind like this? It’s pretty clear to me, and it will be clear to everyone. How do you call what you just did Steve, in the place where you live? In my place, they give it various names, I’m sure you know them.
Hey Steve, how do you feel looking at yourself in the mirror in the morning?
Of course, I will keep fighting this one and the next one, and the next one. 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.
PS: a message to our friends in Nigeria: it’s still time to do the right thing and make the right choice, you will get lots of support for it and excellent services!