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Red Hat Does Well, But Why Does It Suddenly Need Licensing?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 6:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It is already quite well established that Novell failed to stop Red Hat’s momentum after it had signed deal with Microsoft. The figures which Red Hat included in last night’s report left little room for doubt. They were very encouraging.

Red Hat Inc. said Tuesday its second-quarter profit rose 59%, while sales slightly beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations.

It is still curious to find, however, that Red Hat’s desktop endeavors are facing a barrier which is due to Microsoft licensing (for codecs). This was mentioned about a month ago and it was once again mentioned in the press yesterday.

Chief Executive Matthew Szulik said in an interview that the software maker is still working to translate the software into foreign languages, make sure it is compatible with different PC hardware and work out some issues relating to licensing of some of the software in the package.

Don’t you love the fact that Red Hat buys codecs from Microsoft? Microsoft has illegally elbowed RealNetworks (prosecution in the court is there to prove this), polluted the Web with proprietary codec-encumbered content and now they use that to put a price tag on Red Hat’s desktop. Microsoft could use Linspire (and possible Xandros/Novell too) as some sort of a precedence. That’s not what we want to see. How long will it be before Microsoft says that Red Hat needs to pay for Moonlight, Mono, OpenOffice.org, Wine, and so forth? The Microsoft-Linux deals have been extremely harmful.

Microsoft’s licensing charade continues. Yesterday it was Kenwood and the press release was followed by some articles, e.g.:

…the Tokyo producer of consumer electronics and communications equipment, agreed to cross-license each other’s patents in a number of product lines. In a statement, the companies said the move expands their current relationship. With the deal, they’ll swap information and incorporate each other’s technologies in car-navigation systems and other consumer-electronics products. Kenwood will pay Microsoft a license fee. Specific terms weren’t disclosed.

Why are there no specifics? When Microsoft had similar deals with Samsung and Fuji Xerox, it only bothered to mention Linux (probably to use that as FUD). Any detailed list of patents? Of course not. It’s a partnership in the clouds. Nothing has ever been shown or proven. Nothing was tested in court. Shades of SCO.

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  1. Sander Marechal said,

    September 27, 2007 at 12:23 am


    Who says the licensing issues that Red Hat is sorting out are proprietary codec licenses? For all we know, it could be some GPL2/GPL3 thing. Or a BSD/GPL thing (much like the spat about wifi drivers on kerneltrap). Or maybe Red Hat is including some piece of open source code who’s license is a bit ambiguous or unclear (happens all the time with other distro’s as well. Just look at the Debian legal mailing lists).

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 27, 2007 at 1:04 am



    This was mentioned about a month ago by SJVN. They needed to sort out some issues with codecs. Let me try to find you the link…

    OK, got it: http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS4294334547.html

  3. Someone said,

    September 27, 2007 at 2:47 am


    Buying codecs from Microsoft is not nice, but when Novell made a Deal With The Devil they sold their soul, it seems that for Red Hat’s Deal With The Devil Red Hat is paying with cash.

    I don’t think we’ll see boycot Red Hat over this. And as for why, legally Microsoft dose own “patents” WMV and WMA, who else will Red Hat legally get a copy from.

  4. ig said,

    September 27, 2007 at 8:33 am


    I’d still rather see Microsoft getting paid for codecs in a Linux desktop than see them getting paid for a full copy of Windows (and Office). If we have to take baby steps to get away from Microsoft — the regime that has caused more damage to the universe than anyone in recorded history — so be it.

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