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

04.22.08

Bill Gates Ridicules the GPL While Novell Mops Up with Software Patents

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Europe, Finance, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 8:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Movell and Nicrosoft

There is no substantial news here other than development of discussions, which seem to spread fairly fast from one blog to another blog and soon onto the press. To repeat criticisms from yesterday about Novell’s announcement on China [1, 2], Novell and Microsoft keep spreading software patents to all parts of the world (never mind the legality), using SUSE Linux (Ballnux).

As another article to consider, there is this one from The Boston Globe.

Because Linux software is available free of charge, many Chinese businesses use it without paying. These companies miss out on the service, support, and upgrades that companies like Novell can provide. By encouraging Chinese firms to pay for Linux, Microsoft is helping Novell tap a valuable revenue stream.

It should really say “Microsoft tap a valuable revenue stream.” Novell’s Linux is actually Microsoft Linux in the sense that it’s only a ‘surrogate’ that replaces Free Linuxes with one that Microsoft owns in the ‘intellectual’ sense. It’s a trap.

Meanwhile, returning to the discussion about Microsoft taxoperability program [1, 2, 3, 4], Centrify stirred up some discussion with this analysis of Microsoft software patents.

The motivation for this blog entry is that given that so much has been written about Microsoft and patents vis a vis Linux and vis a vis the European Commission decision, I found it interesting that it seems no one in the industry has actually rolled up their sleeves and analyzed and published how many patents Microsoft actually holds within their Windows server protocols and what functional areas these patents cover. I think this is key information to know in order to help address Gartner Group’s advice to open source developers to “not use Microsoft’s [protocol] documentation unless you have rigorous processes to keep track of applicable patents.” Having this supplementary information could also benefit commercial software developers by helping them better understand what Microsoft has to offer protocol-wise and what they potentially may need (or may not need) to license from Microsoft.

This soon got the attention of ZDNet’s Between the Lines and the Microsoft Blog. What we see here is probably increased pressure by staged introduction of clues. Microsoft hopes not only to replace all those ‘nasty’ Linuxes that Microsoft does not control and or make money from, but it also hopes to set legal traps for them.

Where does that leave Novell? On Microsoft’s side, of course, with a frontal assault on the Freedom of software (not the same as Linux).

Quite appalling are some of the things which Gates said just a couple of days ago about open source, Free software and the GPL.

One thing Gates won’t be leaving behind in retirement is his distaste for open source software. After one scientist asked if Gates would consider open source uses in health research, the man who built his $280 billion company on the power of intellectual property bristled.

“There’s free software and then there’s open source,” he suggested, noting that Microsoft gives away its software in developing countries. With open source software, on the other hand, “there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”

Open source, he said, creates a license “so that nobody can ever improve the software,” he claimed, bemoaning the squandered opportunity for jobs and business. (Yes, Linux fans, we’re aware of how distorted this definition is.) He went back to the analogy of pharmaceuticals: “I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,” he said, adding with a shrug: “That may seem radical.”

it’s very revealing that Microsoft tries to separate Free software (it tries to characterise it as gratis, i.e. zero cost, cheap, shoddy) from open source. Open source is, to Microsoft, mainly about visibility, but it wants it to be subjected to the same rules, including software patents. Where are those geniuses who defended Microsoft’s seemingly-friendly approach towards the OSI?

“Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio.”

Marshall Phelps

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

4 Comments

  1. Logan said,

    April 22, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Gravatar

    “Because Linux software is available free of charge, many Chinese businesses use it without paying.”

    This is the most funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.

    Despicable people, like Bill Gates, will continue to exist and be powerful as long other despicable people, like those commenting on the the article, continue to kiss his ass. Doesn’t these people have brains to think for themselves? Is that too much to ask from the average human being?

    Novell and Microsoft are selling some “moon property” to those unfortunate chinese citizens.

    There’s a fool born every second.

  2. SubSonica said,

    April 23, 2008 at 2:08 am

    Gravatar

    They started their strategy of wooing the Open Source side of FOSS in order to marginalise Free(dom) Software and find a way to marginalise the FSF and kill the GPL and GNU/Linux long ago. They tried first with Eric Raymond, who already knew better:

    “http://esr.ibiblio.org/index.php?p=208

    I had my serious, constructive converstation with Microsoft last year, when a midlevel exec named Steven Walli took me out to dinner at OSCON 2004 and asked, in so many words, “How can we not be evil?” And I told him — open up your file formats (including Word and multimedia), support open technical standards instead of sabotaging them, license your patents under royalty-free, paperwork-free terms.

    I believe Steve Walli went back to his bosses and told them that truth. He is no longer with Microsoft, and what little he’ll say about it hints that they canned him for trying to change their culture.

    This didn’t surprise me. Microsoft’s profit margins require a monopoly lock on the market; thus, they’re stuck with being predatory evil bastards. The moment they stop being predatory evil bastards, their stock price will tank and their options pyramid will crash and it will be all over.

    That being the case, negotiation is pointless. Microsoft is not reformable. Jeering at offers like this is actually the most constructive thing we can do.”

    There is a IMHO well-intentioned article on Freesoftwaremagazine stating how Microsoft wouldn’t lose with Free Software, notice it is full of “if”s , although the article starts completely wrong by assuming the divisive propaganda thesis of Microsoft that “there is some faction in the FOSS world who has an anti-Microsoft agenda”, while it is quite the opposite: It is Microsoft who has had an anti-Free Software, anti-Linux and anti-OpenSource agenda from the beginning, only they seem to be approaching what (for them) seem to be the lesser, easier to tame (with money) of these three “evils” in order to sidestep and defeat the other two: So I agree with ESR. that Microsoft will try to keep their monopoly lock-in at any cost, because it is the only thing that keeps their margins so high; which again, allows them to spend buckloads of money in their cover-ops throught lobbying as we have been witness with the FIASCOOXML and the SW Patents (which includes the Microvell pact) ongoing war.
    May be it would be appropriate for BN to write a well-elaborated rebuttal of that article at FSM, since they are encouraging readers to write a full article in reply if they feel like to.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 23, 2008 at 2:32 am

    Gravatar

    Interesting insights. It’s all very obvious to many of us, but not to everyone (the brainwashed media does not help). I’m writing an article for Datamation at the moment. It’s about Red Hat, but maybe we should indeed rebut in some way all those “Microsoft loves FOSS” articles that completely fall into Microsoft’s trap (it’s about empowering the Microsoft stack and APIs).

  4. John Wilson said,

    April 29, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Gravatar

    While I don’t find it at all hard to believe that MS is up to the tricks you’re alleging, for the reasons you state in this case I happen to think they’re being too clever by half with this one.

    First off the Chinese aren’t stupid. They’ve watched Microsoft for years and they’re well aware of the kind of tricks they pull. Beyond that they seem more in the mood to acquire others than to sell themselves off these days.

    You do business in China by their rules not by anyone elses.

    There’s also a bit of a chinese elephant in the room here in the form of Red Flag Linux which carries the blessing of the Communist Party of China who do, after all, still run the show. Playing this kind of game puts Novell and Microsoft in the position of pissing off the folks that run the place which just happens to be the largest emerging market in the world. Not at all smart.

    ttfn

    John

What Else is New


  1. There is No 'New Microsoft': Under Nadella, Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android Carries on

    Kyocera is again being targeted by Microsoft, using patent aggression, with a secret settlement being reached whose negative impact on Android remains to be seen



  2. Patent Propaganda, Glamourisation, and Erosion of Citizens' Rights in the Process

    An overview of recent coverage about patents, demonstrative of inherent bias in the world of patent practitioners and the journalists whom they misinform



  3. Corporate Media Should Stop Grooming Black Duck by Calling it 'Open Source' and Repeating Its Lies

    Black Duck uses gullible (or easy to manipulate) journalists to spread its marketing talking points, which grossly overstate risks of using Free software



  4. Links 6/7/2015: Linux 4.2-rc1, YotaPhone Picks Sailfish OS

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft Windows Unsafe at Any Speed, by Design

    More timely reminders that Windows is simply not designed to be secure, irrespective of version, status of patching, etc.



  6. After Moonlight Dies and Even Microsoft Abandons Silverlight, the Abusive Monopolist Keeps Pushing for Other Microsoft Lock-in, Injecting OOXML Traps Into Free Software (Moodle)

    Despite a long history of Microsoft formats being proven guarantee of digital obsolescence, Moodle allows itself to become Microsoft prey and a Trojan horse for OOXML in classrooms (for children)



  7. Links 4/7/2015: Mostly (Geo)Political Catchup

    Links for the day



  8. Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

    Links for the day



  9. Patent Lawyers and Their Firms, Still Desperate to Protect the Status Quo, Manipulate the Media

    Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers



  10. Amid Controversy, Political Scrutiny and Increased Media Pressure Željko Topić and Benoît Battistelli Allegedly Cancel Today's Trip to Zagreb (Croatia) Where Topić Faces Many Criminal Charges

    The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić's not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes



  11. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  12. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  13. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  14. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  15. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  16. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  17. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  18. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  19. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  20. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  21. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  22. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  23. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  24. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  25. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  26. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  27. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  28. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  29. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  30. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs


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