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

05.15.08

Microsoft’s Quiet War Against GNU/Linux on Motherboards

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Open XML at 9:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Predatory EULA on chip

One exciting recent bit of news is all about Asustek extending the reach of Splashtop and putting it on pretty much every motherboard. This means that tens of millions of PCs are expected to have Linux installed down at the core, essentially (yet arguably) running it as the ‘default’ operating system.

As rudimentary as Splashtop may be at the moment, this could be the start of something greater that will be extended and improved over time. Splashtop also had its kernel patches released to the public (according to Phoronix), so other hardware makers are likely to follow suit. Phoenix has already found itself on a similar boat and Phoenix’ ubiquity is nothing to sneeze at.

In yesterday’s news, The Inquirer made the following important observation:

Asus to ship all motherboards with Linux

[...]

And, for many casual computer users who make use of web-based applications exclusively, Splashtop Linux might be all the operating system they ever need.

This becomes truer as time goes by. An increasing number of applications become Web-based. Not everyone would use them, but some might. Some will.

Splashtop receives a lot of publicity at the moment, but it’s arguably small potatoes compared to Phoenix HyperSpace, which was described here:

Phoenix Technologies’ new HyperSpace is an instant-on environment for laptops, letting users launch a browser or other apps with booting into the OS.

Today, Phoenix Technologies introduced a firmware product called HyperSpace, which allows PCs to run a number of applications separate from the operating system. What that means is that if you use a PC equipped with HyperSpace, you will be able to quick-boot your notebook into a secure Linux environment, where you can use Web browsers like FireFox and pre-loaded Web-aware apps like Google Earth, Picasa, and the like.

[...]

Also, since HyperSpace is a Linux-based platform, Windows viruses won’t affect it.

As Beta News put it at the time, “New Phoenix BIOS will run Linux apps when Windows fails.”

The basic concept is that an embedded Linux OS will accompany the core system firmware or BIOS, allowing instant-on applications to be run from it at any time.

Even Dell expressed some optimism and showed its enthusiasm about such disruptive technologies at the time, but let’s quickly look at Microsoft’s apparent reaction.

BIOS maker Phoenix Technologies Ltd.’s plans to market a new application platform the company claims will solve a number of problems endemic to Microsoft’s Windows platform might be taken as a provocative gesture at their longtime partner. But Redmond’s immediate reaction was nonchalant.

On Monday, the Milpitas, Calif. software maker announced Hyperspace, a Linux-based virtualization platform that will let OEMs bundle cut-down versions of popular open-source software that end users will be able to access instantly, even without booting Windows.

Based on such report you would think that Microsoft does not care, wouldn’t you? However, this new article brings back memories:

Splashtop is not the only such product on the market. A year ago, BIOS vendor Phoenix Technology launched HyperSpace, an equivalent that has yet to turn up on PCs in any numbers. Microsoft’s view on the movement to embed cut-down operating systems is not known, but Phoenix did launch a pre-emptive strike against it to stop it blocking HyperSpace using restrictive Vista end-user license agreements (EULAs). Microsoft relented.

An antitrust complaint from Phoenix Technology, an eternal Microsoft partner (or so it thought) forced the monopoly to fix the anti-competitive EULA of Windows Vista. Microsoft tried to characterise this change as goodwill and a nice gesture, essentially changing the story which was originally told and claiming credit (even glory) for being abusive. The press underplayed this fiasco, but Mary Jo Foley was rather disgusted.

But the real reason for Microsoft’s capitulation became clear on March 7 via a new joint-status report in the Microsoft-Department of Justice case. It turns out BIOS maker Phoenix Technologies (a long-time Microsoft partner) filed a complaint with antitrust regulators about Microsoft’s virtualization restrictions.

Microsoft has tried to manipulate the virtualisation market in a variety of ways [1, 2, 3] because it had fallen so far behind. Microsoft insulted many people’s intelligence when it claimed that a EULA could or could not define the level of security of the O/S, limited by editions of Windows, i.e. featureset being b/locked.

This wasn’t the first time that Microsoft lied or twisted excuses about ‘security’ in order to be anti-competitive. Recall the OOXML/file types incident for example.

Speaking of which, OOXML is still a secret as Microsoft continues to disobey rules. Charles complaint about this only a couple of days ago and now he’s now joined by Bob Sutor, not just Rob Weir, among others.

Will it [OOXML] ever be available? Does anyone care? Do any rules apply to this at all? What are the excuses for this? Just like almost ever other aspect of this particular process, dangerous exceptions and precedents are being set.

To sum up, here we have another case study exemplifying total disregard, market abuse, distortion of stories and a strategic fight against Linux, which escapes the media’s attention.

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

22 Comments

  1. whatever said,

    May 16, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Gravatar

    What a bullshit story. There’s nothing here saying anything about microsoft do anything anti-linux. Fuck off, loser

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 16, 2008 at 12:49 am

    Gravatar

    http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-276429.html

    Maybe this just wasn’t stressed clearly enough or maybe it’s a case of deficient reading comprehension skills. Either way, this was reversed only after pressure.

  3. Alex H. said,

    May 16, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Gravatar

    Just out of interest, why is it supposedly up to Microsoft to publish the final OOXML text?

  4. Victor Soliz said,

    May 16, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Gravatar

    It should be up to someone.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 16, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Gravatar

    It should be up to someone.

    Microsoft proxies or parties that it hires (ECMA has Microsoft as a customer for example).

    Microsoft has spent a lot of money trying to buy this standard. Can it not afford to bribe a little more to make the process quicker? Oh, well… I guess hurrying up _at this stage_ isn’t actually serving its needs. Now it can just urinate on all the formalities.

    And that’s just why everyone loves Microsoft. :-)

  6. Nikolas Koswinkle said,

    May 16, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Gravatar

    Slander-mouth.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a possible incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  7. AlexH said,

    May 16, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Gravatar

    @Victor: obviously, it’s up to _someone_ – my point is, it’s not up to Microsoft.

    The output of the BRM is instructions to the editor on how to change the text. The editor puts the final text today, and JTC1 is supposed to distribute it.

    It seems a little bit churlish to blame Microsoft for that, unless anyone has evidence that they’re holding the process up?

    It’s not really in their interest to hold it up whichever side you butter your toast.

  8. Alex G said,

    May 16, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Gravatar

    Poor Microsoft. They should have known Phoenix will come up with this BIOS, when they were writing the EULA. Shame on them for not owning the crystal ball. And shame on them for yeilding to Phoenix pressure. If they didn’t, it would have made much better blog article.

  9. Maarten said,

    May 16, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Gravatar

    Don’t bother Microsoft. More and more evidence is coming in that Linux cannot be stopped and is breaking through on many different devices…..

  10. Don said,

    May 16, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Gravatar

    @whatever:

    You seem to be unable to read or understand English. Try carefully reading this story again. There are people here who can help you to understand some of the big words, and also help you to learn how to expand your vocabulary to include more than four-letter words. If you are in fact a kindergarten student, please disregard this comment and enjoy your nap-time this afternoon. Have fun playing your Windows games!

  11. nix said,

    May 16, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Gravatar

    to the fuck off guy you sound like a microslop loser to me YOU FUCK OFF !!!!!!! JUST SAY NO TO MICROSLOP !!!!!!!!!

  12. Jose_X said,

    May 16, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Gravatar

    >> It seems a little bit churlish to blame Microsoft for that, unless anyone has evidence that they’re holding the process up?

    UhOhXML is dog poo. He said ..She said.. The standard is full of problems. There will be no interoperability. Monopolysoft poo-poo’d all over the place, and people will never regard it as anything but another gross example of Monopolysoft lack of ethics (I know, “ethics” is a word that doesn’t exist in some people’s mind when it comes to $$$). Well, actually, it won’t be like just any other such example. Monopolysoft went too far this time.

    What’s this I hear? Another drop falling into the Monopolysoft expense bucket? Why yes, yes it is. http://www.digistan.org/hague-declaration Just a few more days left to sign up.

  13. Penguin Pete said,

    May 16, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Gravatar

    Just wanted to drop by and say “thanks for keeping us informed.” I learn about all kinds of behind-the-scenes activity on this site, which I am glad to see is branching out to “the big picture” beyond merely focusing on one distro (inexcusable as their partnership with MS might be).

    Keep up the good work, and never mind the asstroturfers! Many of us are counting on you!

  14. rob enderle said,

    May 16, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Gravatar

    I just found about this right now.
    Asus will be shipping millions of these motherboards every month?
    Yeah, Id say Microsoft has to worry. A browser and IM client like Skype is what people use the majority of the time, so I can see this really taking the web based OS in a direction Microsoft doesnt want it to go.

    This would have been ideal for my mom but she’s running an EEE with Linux Mint now.

  15. zack said,

    May 16, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Gravatar

    it looks like microsoft is going to win the race…

    http://www.finedigg.com/computer/

  16. nerdd.net | news and opinion said,

    May 17, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Microsofts Quiet War Against GNU/Linux on Motherboards | nerdd.net…

    \r\nTo sum up, here we have another case study exemplifying total disregard, market abuse, distortio…

  17. LinuxIsFun said,

    May 17, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Gravatar

    And novell is helping MS fight GNU ???

  18. T Patterson said,

    May 17, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Today on ZDNet there is a comment to Dana Blankenhorn story posted by Brian Goldfarb of Microsoft directly implying the Mono specifically infringes MS patents. He posts under the alias bgoldy.

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=2445

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 17, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Gravatar

    Thanks for that. I’ve also just found:

    “See? You can have most of .Net … but you can’t write a GUI because Windows Forms is held back. If you try to port Windows forms to another platform, so that a program originally written in .Net using Windows forms can be easily ported to that other platform … Microsoft would certainly sue.

    Absolutely classic Microsoft behaviour, that.

    For Silverlight … the piece of that that Microsoft have held back for themselves exclusively is the content creation part.

    You can only create Silverlight content on a Windows platform. “

    http://www.osnews.com/comments/19745

  20. Victor Soliz said,

    May 17, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Gravatar

    It seems a little bit churlish to blame Microsoft for that, unless anyone has evidence that they’re holding the process up?

    It is their fault anyway, isn’t it? We wouldn’t be having this ghost standard if they didn’t push it…

    implying the Mono specifically infringes MS patents

    Well, of course mono infringes MS patents, whether intentionally or not. It is meant as a project to replicate MS’ code instead of innovate, nevertheless MS probably has made its patent ambiguous enough so that any implementation of .net infringes patents.

    But let’s stop talking about software patents here, they are after all mythical everywhere, and if MS began trying toget Linux users to pay them, I would still use Linux and not pay them.

    The real problem, and that’s were your link is soo right is the whole “follow the leather” philosophy that has plagued Novell and is clear in Miguel Icaza’s blog. For some reason they are pushing so hard for Linux to become an imitator of MS technologies, instead of making actual innovation, whether intentionally or not, this will render Linux a second class citizen.

  21. Victor Soliz said,

    May 17, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Gravatar

    man, that’s messed up , I intended to say, “mythical everywhere but in few countries”

  22. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 17, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Gravatar

    From what I could gather in my readings yesterday, Novell wouldn’t hesitate to adopt WPF for the GNOME desktop. Let’s wait and see. All I know is that Microsoft calls many shots at Novell these days.

What Else is New


  1. Nothing Whatsoever Has Improved at the European Patent Office, It's Just Summer's Recess (and Silence)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has done absolutely nothing to improve the work atmosphere, it just alters the marketing strategy somewhat



  2. Links 28/8/2016: Q4OS 1.6, ConnochaetOS 14.2

    Links for the day



  3. The United States Has Gotten Over Software Patents

    A roundup of new articles about software patents in the United States, 2 years into the post-Alice era (the US Supreme Court deeming patents on software too abstract to have merit)



  4. More Lies From President Benoît Battistelli and the EPO Crisis Which Continues to Deepen

    The European Patent Office (EPO), collectively speaking, is still wrestling with a Battistelli infiltration (a circle of high-level managers) which habitually lies and viciously attacks those who dare counter these lies



  5. Links 27/8/2016: Torvalds and GPL, “DOD Must Embrace Open-Source Software”

    Links for the day



  6. Links 26/8/2016: Maru OS Resurfaces, Android More Reliable Than 'i' Things, PC-BSD Becomes TrueOS

    Links for the day



  7. Good Job, David Kappos, Says the 'Boss' (IBM)

    Responses to the latest call against Alice (eliminator of many software patents), courtesy of the man from IBM (still paid by IBM) who was responsible for the policy that blindly approved a lot of software patents in the US



  8. Being for Patent Quality or Against Patenting Excess Does Not Make You Anti-Patents

    Like IAM, which tries to portray sceptics and critics of software patents as "anti-patents", IP Watchdog (or Watchtroll as we call it) is 'trolling' the Electronic Frontier Foundation, simply because it expressed an opinion that patent maximalists cannot tolerate



  9. Erosion of Patent Quality Enables Patent Extortion With Large Portfolios of Low Validity Rate

    Revisiting the EPO's vision of poor patent examination and the effect of discriminatory granting practices, favouring patent bullies such as Microsoft (which actively attacks Linux using low-quality and usually pure software patents)



  10. The EPO's Francesco Zaccà Presenting in Turin Alongside Patent Trolls (Like the Patent Mafia Sisvel) and Lobbyists/Front Groups for Software Patents, UPC

    Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality



  11. The EPO, USPTO, and Patent Microcosm Peddle Myths About Patents in Public Universities and Research

    Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as "saving lives" and "promoting research" (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)



  12. Large Corporations' Lobbyist David Kappos Disgraces Former Employer USPTO by Meddling in Their Affairs on Software Patents, Downplaying the Supreme Court

    The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank



  13. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  14. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  15. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  16. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  17. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  18. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  19. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  20. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  21. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  22. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  23. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  24. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  25. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  26. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  27. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day



  28. Patents Roundup: Trolls Dominate Litigation, PTAB Crushes Patents, Patent Box Regime Persists, and OIN Explains Itself

    Another roundup of patent news from around the Web with special focus on software patenting



  29. The Cost/Toll of the 'New' EPO and Where All That Money Goes or Comes From

    The European Patent Office has become a servant of the rich and powerful (including large foreign corporations) and even its own employees now pay the price associated with misguided new policies (or 'reforms' as Battistelli habitually refers to these)



  30. Links 19/8/2016: Linux Mint With KDE, Linux Foundation's PNDA

    Links for the day


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