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. RecogniCorp v Nintendo is Another Nail in the Coffin of Software Patents in the United States

    A precedential new decision against software patents is terrible news for the patent microcosm -- something for them to spin or moan about for a long time to come



  2. Battistelli is Busy Securing the Vote of Countries Whose Support and Tickets Are Easy to 'Buy'

    Battistelli’s banana republic politics and tricks are viewed as his ticket to endless ‘leadership’ (domination by sheer force) of a sinking patent office, whose rules he repeatedly breaks (including lack of eligibility to run it, for multiple reasons)



  3. Patent Snake Oil From Brunel University London and PatentDive

    The ludicrous notion of replacing patent examiners (or searches by humans) with machines is seriously considered by some who should know better... but don't



  4. This is How 'Independent' the Boards of Appeal Are Under Battistelli

    A rather revealing new factoid about the interview that never happened (potentially contradicting a previous one with Battistelli), or why it did not happen



  5. Links 29/4/2017: Endless OS, Pinebook, and New Mozilla Foundation Board Members

    Links for the day



  6. Links 28/4/2017: Subsurface 4.6.4, GNOME Shell & Mutter 3.25.1

    Links for the day



  7. Kather Augenstein and Bristows Shift Attention to Germany in an Effort to Ram the Dying UPC Down Everyone's Throats

    Down the throat, hopes Team UPC, the Unitary Patent system will go, even though Britain cannot ratify, throwing the whole thing into grave uncertainty



  8. United for Patent Reform Defends USPTO Director Michelle Lee From Attacks by the Patent Microcosm

    Michelle Lee is finally (if not belatedly) shielded by a bunch of large technology companies; The deep-pocketed industry finally steps in line with our position, which is usually when things turn out the way we advocate for



  9. Team UPC and CIPA Are Lobbying, Publishing Puff Pieces, and Rewriting the Law for Unitary Patent (UPC) Behind Closed Doors

    A collection of the latest news and views on the UPC, which is being lied about by those who stand to benefit from it and is probably going nowhere because Brexit means that the UK stays out, in which case it must be reset and pertinent ratifications done all over again



  10. China's Suffering From Patent Maximalism Has Europe Forewarned

    The parasitic elements inside China -- those that just want lots of litigation (even if from patent trolls) -- are winning over, much to the detriment of the Chinese economy, and Team UPC threatens to do the same in Europe with help from Battistelli



  11. Links 27/4/2017: Mesa 17.0.5 RC1, Git 2.13.0 RC1, and Linkerd 1.0

    Links for the day



  12. The Latest Expensive PR Blitz of the EPO, Led by Jana Mittermaier and Rainer Osterwalder Under the 'European Inventor Award' Banner

    The PR agencies of the Corsican in Chief, who appears to be buying political support rather than earning any, are very busy this week, as yet another reputation laundering campaign kicks off



  13. Links 26/4/2017: SMPlayer 17.4.2, Libreboot Wants to Rejoin GNU

    Links for the day



  14. PatentShield is Not the Solution and It Won't Protect Google/Android From Patent Trolls Like Microsoft's

    A new initiative called "PatentShield" is launched, but it's yet another one of those many initiatives (Peer-to-Patent and the likes of it, LOT Network, OIN, PAX etc.) that serve to distract from the real and much simpler solutions



  15. Patent Quality Crisis and Unprecedented Trouble at the European Patent Office (EPO) Negatively Affect Legitimate Companies in the US As Well

    The granting en masse of questionable patents by the EPO (patent maximalism) is becoming a liability and growing risk to companies which operate not only in Europe but also elsewhere



  16. Blog 'Takeovers' by Bristows and Then Censorship: Now This Firm Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Then Deletes Comments That Point Out the Errors

    Not only are Bristows employees grabbing the mic in various high-profile IP blogs for the purpose of UPC promotion (by distortion of facts); they also actively suppress critics of the UPC



  17. Links 25/4/2017: Kali Linux 2017.1 Released, NSA Back Doors in Windows Cause Chaos

    Links for the day



  18. Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

    The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts



  19. EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

    Conflict between management and staff -- a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli -- continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)



  20. In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm's Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  21. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  22. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  23. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  24. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays



  25. For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

    In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions



  26. EPO Staff Representatives Fired Using “Disciplinary Committee That Was Improperly Composed” as Per ILO's Decision

    The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli -- activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation



  27. Links 23/4/2017: End of arkOS, Collabora Office 5.3 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

    Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)



  29. The European Patent Office Has Just Killed a Cat (or Skinned a 'Kat')

    The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press



  30. Yann Ménière Resorts to Buzzwords to Recklessly Promote Floods of Patents, Dooming the EPO Amid Decline in Patent Applications

    Battistelli's French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)


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