EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.19.08

Why Again is the Novell/Microsoft Deal So Darn Ugly?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Oracle, Patent Covenant, Patents, Red Hat, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 2:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

Matt Asay has just weighed in on this debate that was mentioned here before. It’s centered around the mixing of Free software and software patents. His post is long, he has many insightful things to share rant about and here is just a fragment.

Dual-licensing with patents: It’s bound to happen

[...]

The problem with this sort of distinction (which we and virtually every open-source company of which I’m familiar espouses, in terms of a “community” and “professional” version) is how easily patent protection could creep into the one but not the other. When the open-source world starts selling the same FUD that the proprietary world does we have lost.

I care far less about hybrid models that depend on a mixture of proprietary extensions and an open-source core, as MySQL is contemplating, than I do about hybrid models that are a blend of “open source and very risky!” and “proprietary and oh so safe!”. If we slip into this sort of a model, open source loses its potency. It loses its character. It loses its integrity.

The downstreaming problem which he speaks of is represented by Novell's Moonlight. Novell already steps further than this, e.g. by separating Mono into 'chunks' depending on Microsoft’s R(seanable)AND, which is only as unreasonable as it wants and needs it to be. If you wish to witness Microsoft’s mis-comprehension of ‘open source’ (or “open minus source”, i.e. open-source), then take a look at Ozzie’s remarks which we intentionally only alluded to earlier but never took seriously. The ‘news’ was so insignificant that it was hardly comment-worthy. Microsoft is still all “patents, patents, patents!”

The concessions Microsoft makes are merely a case of public image — saving face on the face of it. If you need another more contemporary glimpse at Microsoft’s attitude, get a load of this latest analysis from the 451 Group.

There was general agreement that large IT vendors, including software giants such as Google, Oracle and even Microsoft, all see a need for involvement in open source. What also emerged as a common theme during our panel was that no big vendor could afford not to be in open source in some way or another. Basically, it’s been competitive necessity and cost effectiveness that has led vendors to open source, and this helps explain why we see open source all over the place. There was also a recognition that we were not talking about what vendors might be doing or when they might be making moves around open source. We were talking about the things these vendors are doing today and where they are looking next to push the ideas and advantages of open source further.

As you know, Google and Oracle just adore Free software. Yes, they love using it. They love receiving updates. They love the fact that Red Hat builds a platform for them and in the case of Oracle, lots of support money can be extracted at the developers’ expense. What’s not to love when you’re a freeloader?

“Microsoft’s legacy assets (secret code) become increasingly redundant as equivalent and often superior Free software is made available…”As for Microsoft, it wishes to believe that open source as a whole will become yet another Windows ISV that brings profits to Microsoft. In many other cases, it’s a tad unfortunate to find how they turned Free software into just visibility of source code as a marketing distinguisher if not a self-serving ploy.

Microsoft’s legacy assets (secret code) become increasingly redundant as equivalent and often superior Free software is made available for download, use, and redistribution. Microsoft knows all of this. What can it brag about? Probably just piles of papers, fueled by the very same laws it aggressively lobbies for. It shapes market rules to suppress emerging threats, to hinder natural progression, sometimes perceived as “disruption”. In response, we, as Free software supporters, must protest to keep the law in tact or restore it to a state of sanity. Digital slavery and a modern-age feudal system is good for nobody.

Oh look! The press is buzzing about another Microsoft intellectual monopoly. Watch carefully what you do with your hands now.

Right and left mouse buttons are placed on the side in a thumb-accessible position, and the design is unobtrusive enough to allow for easy typing when it’s on. We’d love to get a hand-on with the mouse if it ever comes out. It looks great and the ability to surf the internet without keeping our hand close to the computer is very conducive to our leisure time activities.

The gist of it all: a combination of prior art fitted onto A4-sized white paper sheets. Can’t have too many of these though! Word on the street is that Microsoft has run out of paper, so it can’t let Linux know what it’s allegedly infringing on.

“Most people who are familiar with patents know it’s not standard operating procedure to list the patents… The response of that would be administratively impossible to keep up with.”

Jim Markwith, Microsoft patents attorney
(after saber-rattling against Linux)

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 31/7/2014: Zorin OS Educational 9, Android Nearing 90% Share

    Links for the day



  2. Microsoft-Linked Codenomicon and Bluebox in the Business of Smearing FOSS/Linux/Android

    odenomicon and Bluebox, two companies with strong Microsoft links, fill the media with negative articles about Android



  3. Is Microsoft Being Raided Not Just for Anti-Competitive Reasons but for Bribes and Back Doors?

    News about raids in Microsoft China mostly lacking when it comes to background, context, and information about Microsoft's crimes in China



  4. Former Microsoft Engineer Working on Windows BitLocker Confirms Government Asks Microsoft for Back Doors

    Recalling the times when even Microsoft staff spoke about secret government collaborations and back doors



  5. Ruling Against 'Abstract' Software Patents is Already Derailing Patent Attacks on Linux and Free Software

    Patent litigation against Android/Linux impeded by the introduction of arguments that cite the Supreme Court



  6. Links 30/7/2014: Chris Beard as CEO of Mozilla

    Links for the day



  7. New Optimism in the Age of Doubt Over Software Patents

    As the tide turns against software patents, even in their country of origin, their opponents come out of the woodwork to celebrate



  8. Links 28/7/2014: New Linux RC, Plasma 5 Live in Kubuntu

    Links for the day



  9. Links 27/7/2014: KDE 4.14 Beta 3, KDE 4.14 Beta 3 Released

    Links for the day



  10. Apple and Microsoft Are Proprietary Software Companies and the Media Should Stop Openwashing Them

    New examples where proprietary software giants are characterised as FOSS-embracing and FOSS-friendly by gullible or dishonest 'journalists'



  11. Bloomberg's Microsoft Propaganda

    Bloomberg delivers 'damage control' and PR ahead of the layoffs announcement; Microsoft uses Nokia to hide it and Bloomberg helps Microsoft by radically modifying headlines



  12. Frequency of Browser Back Doors in Microsoft Windows is Doubling

    The vulnerabilities which Microsoft tells the NSA about (before these are patched) are significantly growing in terms of their numbers



  13. FUD Entities Entering the FOSS World

    Symantec enters the AllSeen Alliance and Sonatype is once again trying to claim great insecurity in FOSS due to software licensing



  14. Groklaw Back in the Wake of ODF in the UK?

    Renewed activity in FOSS-leaning legal site Groklaw amid numerous victories for FOSS



  15. Links 26/7/2014: New Wine, Chromebooks Strong Sales

    Links for the day



  16. Links 25/7/2014: GOG With GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

    Links for the day



  17. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  18. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  19. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  20. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  21. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  22. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  23. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  24. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  25. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  26. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  27. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  28. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  29. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  30. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts