MercuryCenter.com has Free Software Foundation Founder Richard Stallman’s rebuttal to Microsoft Executive Jim Alchin’s recent comments that open source software threatens intellectual property rights: ‘…Microsoft uses an anticompetitive strategy called “embrace and extend”. This means they start with the technology others are using, add a minor wrinkle which is secret so that nobody else can imitate it, then use that secret wrinkle so that only Microsoft software can communicate with other Microsoft software. In some cases, this makes it hard for you to use a non-Microsoft program when others you work with use a Microsoft program. In other cases, this makes it hard for you to use a non-Microsoft program for job A if you use a Microsoft program for job B. Either way, “embrace and extend” magnifies the effect of Microsoft’s market power. In 2000, Microsoft undermined the Kerberos secure login software in this way. They added a small secret feature to their version of the Kerberos software, simply to make it incompatible. The standard, free software version of Kerberos cannot communicate with Microsoft’s modified Kerberos server. The result: anyone who wants to communicate with the Microsoft server software has to run Windows on his desktop…’ Editor’s note: while there currently is no real standard in clinical computing software to embrace and extend, the same general techniques of making clinical computing software purposely incompatible and locking in a customer apply.