Is Microsoft using dirty tactics to get people (or even Governments) to choose Windows over Linux? It surely doesn't take a big leap of faith to believe that is possible if not outright true, but it isn't often than a well-known industry vendor will make a public statement saying such. Mandriva Linux, who recently came out with their 2008 release, has released an open letter to Microsoft that accuses them of using questionable tactics to usurp their market share.

In the latter, Mandriva outlines a recent deal they had with the Nigerian Government that left them (and apparently Nigeria) quite happy with 17,000 new Linux-powered school computers. It seems that sometime after Mandriva shipped out these machines and those machines getting used, Linux disappeared and in its place was a nice fresh copy of Windows:

Just as the machines were being delivered, the Nigerians gave Bancilhon a bit of unexpected news: "We shall pay for the Mandriva Software as agreed," they told him, "but we shall replace it by Windows afterward."
The reasoning behind the switch was not mentioned, but the Mandriva CEO sure had some ideas in mind. In particular, he lashes out at Steve Ballmer for using unethical tactics to steal customers. In the meantime, Mandriva plans to try and re-convince Nigera to abandon Windows. When questioned about the issue, Microsoft only stated that they follow the law for whichever country they operate in. You can read the letter itself at the Mandriva site. There is certainly a lot of tension in it, one that may end up playing in favor of those who oppose the "Microsoft-Linux" patent-protecting deals that Redmond has been trying to push the past year.