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Hell Hath No Fury Like a Developer Scorned

RSS guru and popular blogger Niall Kennedy sure didn't last long at Microsoft. The former Technorati star had been hired into Microsoft's Live group just as the Ray Ozzian buzz had hit its apex, only to depart six months later to strike out on his own. Kennedy expected to set up shop in an oasis of free-thinking development in Microsoft's Live division. Instead, he found his team stuck on the tarmac, frozen while projects like Vista, Longhorn and Office 2007 took months to line up for takeoff.

There may not be much love lost between Kennedy and the Redmond software giant, which could explain the contretemps between Kennedy and the folks at Microsoft's Team RSS Blog. On Monday, Team RSS published a blog entry displaying a linked photo Kennedy had taken of Microsoft's Dean Hachamovitch. The problem was, Microsoft had neither asked permission nor provided attribution for the displayed photograph. So to make a (rather forceful) point, Kennedy swapped out the image of Hachamovitch on his server and replaced it with a doctored, pornographic image bearing the same file name. Not just any pornographic image, mind you. This was a barely covered shot of the infamous Goatse graphic. No surprise, the Team RSS folks quickly hauled down the offending image and offered a public mea culpa for using Kennedy's work without permission. Kennedy offers his account here.

On the one hand, I have to hand it to Kennedy for "going nuclear" on a classic case of IP abuse. Microsoft, after all, is the company that has championed things like pervasive DRM and Windows Genuine Advantage, and has subjected countless businesses to stress-inducing license audits -- all in the name of IP protection. On the other hand, that graphic -- even censored as it was -- is beyond disturbing. It's the visual equivalent of a WMD.

What do you think? Did Kennedy go a JPEG too far? Or did Microsoft earn a thermonuclear bitch slap for stealing someone else's property? You tell me.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 12/06/2006 at 1:15 PM


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