Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Jun 2007 16:57 UTC, submitted by WillM
Microsoft Microsoft, shrugging off licensing moves to prevent it from repeating its controversial patent deal with Novell, has signed a set of broad collaboration agreements with Linux provider Xandros that include an intellectual property assurance under which Microsoft will provide patent covenants for Xandros customers. In the meantime, Microsoft's covenant not to sue users of Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise will be extended to all General Public License v3 users as soon as Novell includes GPLv3 code within its Linux distribution, according to the Free Software Foundation.
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djangoxl
Member since:
2006-03-10

Well,
maybe I shouldn't care because I'm mainly a BSD user (with two Debian boxes around), but why would these Linux companies work together with Microsoft?

Reply Score: 4

lord_rob Member since:
2005-08-06

Big amount of cash maybe ?

Reply Score: 5

Aussie_Bear Member since:
2006-01-12

Yeah, agreed. If you need a quick injection of cash...Sign up with Microsoft.

The problem of course, is what happens in the long term?
(Novell has taken a lot of flack from the community already.)

Reply Score: 2

Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

Fear of the big, mighty Microsoft. The deal with Novell was the beginning, so most oft the companies out there think they're serious.

Reply Score: 2

systyrant Member since:
2007-01-18

It's just business. Business make deals like this all the time. The only reason it's such a big deal now is because it's between Microsoft and (now) two Linux distributors.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying these deals are good or bad or go against the spirit of the open source communities who support Linux. I'm simply saying that the deals are just business as usual.

With that said I still don't think deals like this give any weight to Microsoft's arguments about patents. I'm sure Microsoft will use it to further it's FUD about Linux and I'm sure a few people (business) will base a buying decision on that FUD. However, the reality is that until the patents or IP in question is pushed through the legal system and proven in Microsoft's favor it's nothing more than ramblings of Microsoft.

Reply Score: 3

g2devi Member since:
2005-07-09

The "It's just business" line is used to justify a lot of business practices that are eventually either found to be illegal, or made illegal once the public or authorities realizes there's a loophole in the system.

I'm sorry but most businesses don't operate the way SCO, Eron, or Worldcom do. What Microsoft is doing is straddles the line between extortion and slander.

They're able to get away with it because they have an army of lawyers and have no market competition. If Chrysler said GM, Ford, Toyota, and hundreds of other car manufacturers violated 235 patents (which they won't disclose because it's too much work to write them down on paper, but trust Chrysler, it knows what it's saying) and advertised regularly that anyone who purchased any "non Chrysler approved" cars could be liable and be forced to junk their car, Chrysler would be sued out of existence.

Reply Score: 5

systyrant Member since:
2007-01-18

I have no proof or hard evidence, but I'd be willing to bet more business's do business in the gray area than not. Maybe they know it and maybe they don't.

But that wasn't really my point. My point is about the mindset of the people who run these business. While the community surrounding open source finds religion in software the business side of open source is looking for profit.

On the flip side of the coin if the Linux community is absolutely certain that it has infringed on no IP then why not press the issue by taking Microsoft to court or at least yelling very loudly 'put up or shut up'. Nobody on either side really want to go to court. Microsoft doesn't because they might loose or end up being sued themselves for patent infringement. Linux distro's won't because they might actually become liable (and many don't have the funds to fight it).

As for Chrysler. I figure they'd get laughed at as much as SCO did and Microsoft will. Of course the reality there is that Chrysler probably made patent and IP deals with the other car manufacturers. None of these companies really want to go to court to battle it out over patents. Most of the time licensing fees are going to be a lot cheaper than lawyer fees.

Reply Score: 2

IvoLimmen Member since:
2005-07-06

'put up or shut up'

I think that a lot of us would want to see that happen. But who should do it? Nobody has that amount of cash of a legal battle as Microsoft has.

Reply Score: 1

systyrant Member since:
2007-01-18

Well, my thoughts with that statement were more about battling FUD.

Reply Score: 1

ThawkTH Member since:
2005-07-06

Mafia.

Reply Score: 2

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Interoperability. Some offices use Linux; some offices use Windows. It's easier for distros and Windows to work together if they want to sell to their mutual customers, people who use both.

It's not as easy as telling all your MySQL database people to switch to Microsoft SQL, or your MS-Office based people to switch to Open Office. The buzzword they're throwing around here at TechEd is RONUI: Return On New User Interface. Will the change in user interface (including different controls, different software, etc.), return more to the end user than the cost and difficulty of the change?

Reply Score: 1

Rimshot Member since:
2007-05-03

Right you are - Interoperability is what it is all about! All the noise about patent nonsense is just that. The real world is full of mixed environments and if Linux can talk seamlessly with MS, then its a win-win for Linux, MS and most importantly for companies that actually work in these commonplace scenarios. If Linux wants to be adopted worldwide then it has to be able to deal with this stuff.
You either play together or go home. I think this partnership provides legitimacy in the 'real world' for Linux and makes it a more attractive value proposition for businesses, developers, and users.

Let the lawyers take a flying leap! Neither MS or Linux has a case.

Reply Score: 3

gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

And the problem is called Microsoft behaviour.

Microsoft is pledged by numerous entities repeatedly to open up their file format and network protocol specifications.
With the response of "no we dont do that, delay, kick, scream".

If microsoft wants to get interoperability, nobody is hindering them. It is Microsofts decision to open their format and network protocol specifications, and it is Microsofts decision to do things according to widely accepted standards (IE has still worst standards support).
All of this interoperability has nothing to do with patents. If Microsoft thinks any patents are violated, then they can work it out with the allegedly violating programmers by telling them where the violation takes place.

No, Microsoft is playing a protection-money game similar to the mafia here. With the only difference that Microsofts threat of sueing is legal, compared to the mafia's threat of killing.

Reply Score: 2

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

No, Microsoft is playing a protection-money game similar to the mafia here.

You may be confused as to what the deal entails. The mafia doesn't sell to many driver licenses.

Edited 2007-06-06 13:52

Reply Score: 0

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Let the lawyers take a flying leap!

Who was it that said, "First kill all the lawyers?"

Reply Score: 1

ozonehole Member since:
2006-01-07

maybe I shouldn't care because I'm mainly a BSD user (with two Debian boxes around), but why...

Let it be laid to rest the myth that BSD users are somehow immune to software patent lawsuits. Software patents threaten everybody, even users of proprietary OSs (like OSX). The only way that companies can protect themselves against these lawsuits is if they have patent portfolios of their own that they can use to counterattack.

Microsoft is using patent FUD to target Linux because Linux has a bigger market share than BSD, and thus is a more immediate threat. But if Linux were to somehow to blown away and disappear, you can bet that Microsoft would then target BSD users.

Software patents are a very stupid idea. Most companies that hold these patents dare not use them, lest they unleash a nuclear war.

Reply Score: 5

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, maybe I shouldn't care because I'm mainly a BSD user (with two Debian boxes around), but why would these Linux companies work together with Microsoft?


You do realise that this arrangement goes beyond the so-called 'infrindgements' they've made claims upon. For instance, WMA/WMV/ASF playback for example.

The depth and bredth of the arrangement hasn't been devulged; does this include access to specifications for Microsoft technology? does that include licencing of Microsoft source code in the case of CODECs?

Before the gnashing of teeth start, it is necessary to sit back and look at the bigger picture beyond the crazy rantings of Balmer and his accusations against Linux distributions and opensource projects.

Reply Score: 2

Not good
by jackson on Mon 4th Jun 2007 17:15 UTC
jackson
Member since:
2005-06-29

This is a clever move by Microsoft. They will never release the names of those 235 patents that they allege are infringed by Linux, and they will never actually sue any Linux vendor, much less any Linux user, but by entering into these agreements, they can raise the fear and doubt in CIOs, CTOs, IT directors and the like. When repurchasing decisions are made, will these deals creep into the minds of those people and if so, will they decide to skip over F/OSS alternatives as too risky or potential-litigation-tainted? Maybe, maybe not, but it's appearing to at least raise the issues, which is very troubling. I do not think Microsoft will win the war, but they may be (temporarily) winning this battle of mind-share.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Not good
by Stock on Mon 4th Jun 2007 17:38 UTC in reply to "Not good"
Stock Member since:
2005-08-31

There is another way this can play out too.

With all the protection offered from select Linux distributions that same Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt is removed. Purchasing decisions will be free of these complications and even if the end result is a lot of Novell or Xandros boxes in offices it is a big step forward for Linux market share.

With the gain in market share done, there is less vendor lock-in and more chance to move to another distribution once the renewal period comes up. We all know switching from Suse to Ubuntu will be a lot easier than from XP to Suse, so the hard work will be done.

Let me also be very clear on one point. I hate the idea of these patent licences. It is wrong of Microsoft to suggest they have patents that are being violated by Linux without showing them. I also don't see it as a big problem because the U.K. doesn't acknowledge software patents.

With increased market share for Linux, whatever the process by which that comes about, is a step towards eroding Microsoft's monopoly. Without the protection of a monopoly a free market will show which is the better product.

--
http://www.linuxlaptops.eu

Reply Score: 5

RE: Not good
by Rehdon on Mon 4th Jun 2007 17:50 UTC in reply to "Not good"
Rehdon Member since:
2005-07-06

At this point, they managed to got one big fish (Novell) and a small one (Xandros), I suspect it will be a matter of smaller and smaller fishes from now on, i.e. languishing commercial distros willing to be awarded 30 gold pieces to let MS pursue their divide et impera strategy. Well perhaps I'm making too much of it, it's a bullyish tactic reminding me of the already mentioned "go ahead, here are 5 $$, eat that bug!" unique MS style.

Will it be successful? Will it be enough to buy some time for MS? Perhaps. In a very near future, though, that is as soon as the GPL v3 is finalized and out in the wild, their bigger fish will escape them, because Novell is not a one-foot-in-the-dumpster RedHat wannabee, they simply cannot afford to fork Linux to stick with GPL 2. They will move to GPL 3 GNU software, anybody doubting this will happen hasn't understood a thing about free software. So it will end with a "splash", and another infamous chapter in MS history, and they will have to resort to new and improved forms of FUD to prevent people fleeing from the software equivalent of the iron curtain.

Rehdon

Reply Score: 5

Dumb deal
by Supreme Dragon on Mon 4th Jun 2007 17:22 UTC
Supreme Dragon
Member since:
2007-03-04

Protection from what patents? The despots at MS should show us these patents they whine about, this deal is useless.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Dumb deal
by d_Yn on Mon 4th Jun 2007 17:31 UTC in reply to "Dumb deal"
d_Yn Member since:
2005-07-06

It's all part of the FUD campaign. Doing it right they can score huge with it and it looks they are really careful with that one.

Reply Score: 3

For more coverage on this news...
by b3timmons on Mon 4th Jun 2007 17:24 UTC
b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

...see http://www.boycottnovell.com/

They have quite a bit of background on this Xandros/Microsoft protection racket as well as updates on other Microsoft dirty tactics.

Reply Score: 5

IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

I frequent that site, but just to give a bit of balance, take everything you read there with a grain of salt. They're on the mark with some things, and completely out of left field on others. It's a news aggregation blog complete with their opinions.

Reply Score: 2

RE:
by capprentice24 on Mon 4th Jun 2007 17:32 UTC
capprentice24
Member since:
2006-01-31

Sounds like a good move by Xandros, if it gives them an inside track with adding there servers on a windows network with out issues.

Could see great things from this,
Using Windows servers to provide the adsi, and there server to provide web and file sharing all with in adsi.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]:
by markjensen on Tue 5th Jun 2007 14:32 UTC in reply to "RE:"
markjensen Member since:
2005-07-26

Sounds like a good move by Xandros, if it gives them an inside track with adding there servers on a windows network with out issues.

Could see great things from this,
Using Windows servers to provide the adsi, and there server to provide web and file sharing all with in adsi.


Except I seriously doubt that Microsoft's intention is to promote the use of Linux.

Short-term windfall for Xandros, maybe. But, in the long run, Xandros will not benefit, and I don't see the Open Source community benefiting, either.

Reply Score: 3

Question about patents
by pandronic on Mon 4th Jun 2007 17:35 UTC
pandronic
Member since:
2006-05-18

I really don't understand about how patents work in the US, but why are users concerned about being sued? Shouldn't only the software manufacturers be concerned?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Question about patents
by ubit on Mon 4th Jun 2007 18:02 UTC in reply to "Question about patents"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Users can be liable for infringement, so companies like Microsoft indemnify their customers. Red Hat does it too.

Eg., a while ago Timeline won a decision against Microsoft and was saying they would go after SQL Server users. Same with SCO suing DaimlerChrysler and Autozone for contract/copyright infringement, although with those two it's a bit more complicated than that.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Question about patents
by pandronic on Mon 4th Jun 2007 18:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Question about patents"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Users can be liable for infringement

That's crazy. It's like I buy a Ford and Mercedes sues me because Ford infringed one of their patents ... How should I know? I'm not a car expert.

That's one f*cked up law.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Question about patents
by g2devi on Mon 4th Jun 2007 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Question about patents"
g2devi Member since:
2005-07-09

That's actually not much different than software developers. How on earth are they supposed to know which patents they violate. 99% of the software developers in the world rarely (if ever) even look at the patent pool, much less understand what a patent application is actually patenting. It doesn't matter if you independently reinvent the patent without any knowledge that the patent exists. If you think of an idea that someone else did, you have to pay.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Question about patents
by Windows Sucks on Mon 4th Jun 2007 18:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Question about patents"
Windows Sucks Member since:
2005-11-10

The thing is a company like MS sues you (Even though they have never really sued anyone cause they know they would bring heat from the US and EU governments for bully tactics)

They have to tell you what they are suing you for in a cease and desist letter. At that time you can change or stop using the offending thing and MS no longer has a suit.

They can try to get you to pay up for past use but to get you to do that they have to prove you knowingly and willingly used the patent against the will of the owner of the patent.

Big companies tend to loose this kind of case faster then small ones because big companies have lots of money to research patents and know what they are infringing. Where a small company may not know.

Suing customers is not gonna make any money for MS (Just like it does not make any money for the RIAA) but it will send people running scared.

The problem is that a deal like this is good for MS and for Xandros. But Xandros is already not making money and giving a chunk of that to MS.

I am assuming that Xandros is thinking that they are trading some money for protection, access and most of all marketing help. MS is thinking "This shows problems with Open Source software, if you don't leave OSS because of the patent problems, then you can buy it from Novell or Xandros and we still get paid."

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Question about patents
by ubit on Mon 4th Jun 2007 20:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Question about patents"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

SCO still hasn't shown any copyright infringement or mountains of code as they had said before. And yet five years to the day, the case is ongoing in the United States (I think it was shut down quickly in Germany). What a sham!

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Question about patents
by Doc Pain on Tue 5th Jun 2007 05:22 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Question about patents"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"SCO still hasn't shown any copyright infringement or mountains of code as they had said before. And yet five years to the day, the case is ongoing in the United States (I think it was shut down quickly in Germany). What a sham!"

While cases may last long in Germany, in such a case no judge would continue. Instead, he would ask the parties to put their proofs onto the table: What do you have? Show it. Lawyers tend to need some time, that's true, but the judge would not let him do these tactics for a longer time. If a party makes a claim and is unable to proof it, the claim would be discarded, and, because such claims usually are a means in argumentation, the whole argumentation would be discarded. Result: Case closed, better luck next time. :-)

I don't know how the amount of time invested in such a case is handled in the U.S.; in Germany the ZPO (Zivilprozeßordnung, lawsuit order) gives strict advices about how much a lawsuid may be stretched and which circumstances have to apply here. Can a judge in the U.S. say, well, we'll meet again in two years, then show your proofs please? Would be strange...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Question about patents
by MollyC on Mon 4th Jun 2007 21:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Question about patents"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

"Users can be liable for infringement

That's crazy. It's like I buy a Ford and Mercedes sues me because Ford infringed one of their patents ... How should I know? I'm not a car expert.

That's one f*cked up law."


I agree that it's a screwed up law. But it's "free" software devs that make use of this law. Commercial software devs normally take the patent liability on themselves, paying for licenses, indemnifying their users from suits, etc. OSS devs, on the other hand, are more likely to pass the burden to the users.

A concrete example is VideoLan, who explicitly passes the patent liability burden regarding codecs (e.g. MPEG2) to the user.

Quoting from VideoLan's VLC FAQ:
http://wiki.videolan.org/Frequently_Asked_Questions#What_about_pers...

"What about personal/commercial usage?
Some of the codecs distributed with VLC are patented and require you to pay royalties to their licensors. These are mostly the MPEG style codecs.

With many products the producer pays the license body (in this case MPEG LA) so the user (commercial or personal) does not have to take care of this. VLC (and ffmpeg and libmpeg2 which it uses in most of these cases) cannot do this because they are Free and Open Source implementations of these codecs. The software is not sold and therefore the end-user becomes responsible for complying to the licensing and royalty requirements. You will need to contact the licensor on how to comply to these licenses.

This goes for playing a DVD with VLC for your personal joy ($2.50 one time payment to MPEG LA) as well as for using VLC for streaming a live event in MPEG-4 over the Internet.
"

VideoLAN explicitly says that because they are "Free and Open Source", then it's up to their users to pay for the codec licenses themselves, which implicitly dares MPEG LA to sue VideoLAN's users to get the fees. And this is a common tactic used by OSS devs - don't bother to abide by patents, infringe at will, and just pass the liability to the user.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Question about patents
by deanlinkous on Mon 4th Jun 2007 22:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Question about patents"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

don't bother to abide by patents, infringe at will, and just pass the liability to the user.
but CAN you pass liability?

Some of those codecs do not even provide a end-user type of license so I (as a end-user) have already been excused from liability.

Edited 2007-06-04 22:07

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Question about patents
by cyclops on Mon 4th Jun 2007 23:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Question about patents"
cyclops Member since:
2006-03-12

"this is a common tactic used by OSS devs - don't bother to abide by patents, infringe at will, and just pass the liability to the user."

I'm an OSS user, we all are. BSD code is included in every OS. I hate these topics becuase I am ultimately naive. You are happy to point out I infringe some patent.

Now I am more than happy to pay to use such a payment to be legal, could you point out for me which ones I am infringing; could you point out the cost; where I pay; and how much.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Question about patents
by sbergman27 on Mon 4th Jun 2007 23:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Question about patents"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
And this is a common tactic used by OSS devs
"""

You put this in a very confrontational way.

I'm curious what you think that the VLC devs *should* do. After all, when we speak of software patents, we are almost always speaking of U.S. patents. And while I happen to live in the U.S., I try to keep in mind that my countrymen represent less than 4% of the people of the world.

The vast majority of the world's population, VLC's users, are not bound by U.S. patent law.

In that situation, it seems perfectly reasonable to advise the user of the legal plight of the U.S. minority, let those who are not bound by the U.S's problems use the software, and let those who *are* bound by them make their own decisions.

If you issued source code freely, which might be used by people in some obscure country which, locally, required you to pay 650,000 schlawkwaws (253,000USD) to distribute there... what would you do? Fold up shop and go home?

Defending the "rights" of U.S. software patent holders to the detriment of the world at large can hardly be viewed as holding the moral high ground.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the impression that you feel you hold the moral high ground on this issue.

Edited 2007-06-04 23:41

Reply Score: 3

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

I agree that it's a screwed up law. But it's "free" software devs that make use of this law. Commercial software devs normally take the patent liability on themselves, paying for licenses, indemnifying their users from suits, etc. OSS devs, on the other hand, are more likely to pass the burden to the users.

Of course, it is the non-free developers that stand to gain from software patents and without their tacit approval of the law that you agree is screwed up, the law would be unnecessary, and the free software developers would not have to burden their users by a problem that non-free software developers created.

For some skepticism on whether software can be patented, as expressed earlier this year by some U.S. Supreme Court justices--and even a Microsoft lawyer, see, for example,

http://boycottnovell.com/2007/02/22/there-needs-to-be-a-device/

Teaser:
JUSTICE STEVENS: Your time is up, but I want to ask you one yes or no question. In your view is software patentable?
MR. JOSEFFER: Standing alone in and of itself, no.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Question about patents
by chemical_scum on Tue 5th Jun 2007 03:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Question about patents"
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

And this is a common tactic used by OSS devs - don't bother to abide by patents, infringe at will, and just pass the liability to the user.

And quite rightly so. A codec is a mathematical algorithm and as such should not be patentable. I don't think anyone should pay MPEG LA a penny for the use of ffmpeg etc. MPEG LA have never sued a personal end user and as far as I know even threatened one. They have made however made threats to distributors of compiled code.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Question about patents
by archiesteel on Tue 5th Jun 2007 16:30 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Question about patents"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Pro-MS posters (such as MollyC) are in favor of software patents when they feel it can hamper FOSS adoption, and against them when Microsoft itself is found guilty of patent infringement.

It's quite simple, really: software patents benefit no one except those companies who specialize in building patent portfolios solely for purposes of litigation.

Heck, even Bill Gates has expressed serious doubts about software patents...can't we, pro-MS and pro-FOSS advocates, simply all agree that software patents have a negative impact on the software industry as a whole?

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Question about patents
by MollyC on Wed 6th Jun 2007 01:42 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Question about patents"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

"Pro-MS posters (such as MollyC) are in favor of software patents when they feel it can hamper FOSS adoption, and against them when Microsoft itself is found guilty of patent infringement. "

I'll thank you to never again put words in my mouth.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Question about patents
by lemur2 on Tue 5th Jun 2007 03:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Question about patents"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

VideoLAN explicitly says that because they are "Free and Open Source", then it's up to their users to pay for the codec licenses themselves, which implicitly dares MPEG LA to sue VideoLAN's users to get the fees. And this is a common tactic used by OSS devs - don't bother to abide by patents, infringe at will, and just pass the liability to the user.


Small correction - it should read: "pass the American liability on to the American users".

This is IMO a much better approach than Microsoft's approach where they build the cost into the price of the OS and hence pass an American liability cost on to users worldwide.

Edited 2007-06-05 03:45

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Question about patents
by jcpinto on Mon 4th Jun 2007 18:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Question about patents"
jcpinto Member since:
2006-08-30

Users can be liable for infringement


Oh... it's because things like that, some Europeans still think Americans are cowboys in the far west ages!

I guess I'm just happy to be a EU citizen where using/producing software is seen as a technological advancement instead of potential infringement/criminal behaviour by using "highly expensive to develop and implement" IP patents like "shop with one click"!!

Democracy is not only about free speech and coke...

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Question about patents
by Windows Sucks on Mon 4th Jun 2007 19:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Question about patents"
Windows Sucks Member since:
2005-11-10

The thing that drives me nuts are patents on things that are never created or a patent on something someone else came up with but never got to patent.

The later is more understandable but the former is crazy. So I can just run around, buy patents, claim you are infringing on them and then hold you up for ransom! That is out of control.

Or I can see something that is cool, like one click shopping on the internet and then make one click shopping on my site and patent it. ???

I think patents should only cover the way you make something, not the end result.

So if you make a web browser and you code it 01010101 and then I make one and I code it 10101010 then that should be two different things. Even if the end result comes out to be a web browser.

As it stands now you could code 010101010 and I could code UPUPUPUPUPUP (Which is totally different) I would still be sued if the end result came out to be a way to browse the web. To me that is crazy.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Question about patents
by Almafeta on Mon 4th Jun 2007 23:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Question about patents"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

The later is more understandable but the former is crazy. So I can just run around, buy patents, claim you are infringing on them and then hold you up for ransom! That is out of control.

Not having the resources or volition to create something commercially doesn't negate that you were the original creator. (Unless it can be proved that you weren't, in which case, you don't have a patent anymore.)

As it stands now you could code 010101010 and I could code UPUPUPUPUPUP (Which is totally different) I would still be sued if the end result came out to be a way to browse the web. To me that is crazy.

Luckily, software patents have to provide new functionality.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Question about patents
by butters on Mon 4th Jun 2007 19:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Question about patents"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

No, end-users cannot be held liable for patent infringement. Not in the U.S., and certainly not anywhere else. Plenty of end-users have settled patent infringement suits in order to avoid the expense of a prolonged legal battle. But no judge has ever ruled against an end-user in a patent suit.

Patent indemnification for end-users is only to protect them against being sued and covering the associated legal expenses. Establishing in court that you are not in any way distributing an infringing work is bound to be more expensive than paying up-front for indemnification.

Because of the way the legal system works in the U.S., it makes sense for most businesses to pay modest fees to avoid frivolous lawsuits. However, it makes very little sense for consumers, and it might not make sense for businesses that don't operate in the U.S. in any way.

It's like the poker analogy I explained here:

http://www.osnews.com/permalink.php?news_id=17918&comment_id=240805

It's not about the cards, it's about the chips. The legal reality only matters if the case goes all the way to a decision, and that rarely happens in patent suits. Indemnification isn't valuable because of the risk of being found guilty, but rather because of the cost of proving innocence.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Question about patents
by pandronic on Mon 4th Jun 2007 19:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Question about patents"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Indemnification isn't valuable because of the risk of being found guilty, but rather because of the cost of proving innocence.

Yes, but legal expenses aren't payed by the losing party?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Question about patents
by butters on Mon 4th Jun 2007 20:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Question about patents"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Only if the case is dismissed "with prejudice" or special arrangements are otherwise ruled by the judge. Normally, both sides pay their own legal expenses, even if the defendant wins.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Question about patents
by pandronic on Mon 4th Jun 2007 21:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Question about patents"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Damn, you have a really weird legal system in the US.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Question about patents
by dagw on Tue 5th Jun 2007 10:49 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Question about patents"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

No it makes sense that legal fees aren't automatically paid by the loser. That would be ripe for abuse.

Imagine if someone took you to court over something minor (that you had actually done) and you lost and where convicted to not only pay $10000 for whatever you where sued for, but also $500000 in legal fees, because the party that sued you decided to abuse the loser pays scheme and sorted out a kickback deal with their law firm.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Question about patents
by RawMustard on Tue 5th Jun 2007 08:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Question about patents"
RawMustard Member since:
2005-10-10

Users can be liable for infringement

Hang on a minute...

I think this is a bit vague as far as I'm concerned.
I always assumed that you could only be liable for pattern infringement if you copied someone's patented product and then sold your copies on the market?

If I see a fan dangled new clothes peg in the supermarket and think, "wow that's a cool way of pegging clothes" I then go home and make my own copy of that peg which I will never sell, just use it for myself. Then I'm fine as far as the law is concerned.

Now if I give my mate one of my new pegs for free and he then starts making his own pegs also, then he's ok as well. But if either of us try to sell our pegs, then we're screwed!

So the way I see it. These Linux companies that take free software, wrap it up in their own branding and on sell it could be liable for pattern infringement and as far as I'm concerned, so they should. But to go after a user that has downloaded a free copy of someone's peg and uses it for himself, I'd find it hard to believe he was breaking any kind of law? But then IANAL of American law.

Reply Score: 2

Strategy of MS
by cyberkoa on Mon 4th Jun 2007 17:36 UTC
cyberkoa
Member since:
2006-10-18

This is the strategy of MS, they are going to do the same to all the major players in the linux distro market. Not only linux distro vendor , they are start to target OEMs that want to preinstalled Linux.

One stone kills two birds tactic, if the community boycott Novell , then one of the good distro Suse may lose the popularity, MS also happy to see this happen.

Reply Score: 4

tactic smart, but dead with GPL3
by JeffS on Mon 4th Jun 2007 17:52 UTC
JeffS
Member since:
2005-07-12

MS is trying to figure out how to stifle the oncoming competitive threat that is open source. And if it can't stifle it, MS wants to find a way to co-opt it, to MS's advantage.

That's what the public patent threats, combined with the patent deals with Linux vendors, is all about.

It's smart, because it's attractive to those Linux vendors, especially ones that are struggling (Novell and Xandros), and not too heavily allied with IBM. It also give ignorant, cautious CTOs and CIOs a warm fuzzy when using Windows and Linux.

But it all becomes moot with GPL 3, which in the final draft explicitly expresses that patent deals are applied to all users, developers, and distributors. Otherwise, such agreements are in violation of the GPL.

This strategy is very smart on the part of the FSF. It does not attack the Linux vendors. It forces MS's hand. They either have to cease the agreements (and distribution), or they have to acquiesce to their alleged violated patents being applied to all Linux users.

And if MS choses the former, they might have to put up or shut up, e.i. sue someone. Then a patent jihad will ensue. They don't want that.

Reply Score: 5

ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Since GPLv3 grandfathers the patent thing only to March 28, 2007, are Xandros not going to use any GPLv3 programs? They're quite far behind in other versions of their programs so that might be why they can do this. However-- in terms of security updates that will be GPLv3 or later, they will soon have big problems IMO. GPLv2 and 3 are incompatible.

Edited 2007-06-04 18:05

Reply Score: 3

trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

Who will use GPLv3 ?

OpenOffice is not under GPL.
Kernel is under GPL v2.
Apache is not under GPL.
Postgres is not under GPL.
Java is dual licensed.
Mozilla is not under GPL.
MySQL is dual, under GPLv2, they would not risk their business.
Sendmail is not under GPL.
KDE is not under GPL.
Netbeans are not under GPL.
GCC does not restrict developers.

The rest could be forked. What about developers payed by corporations, like Novell ? They would want to keep their jobs.

I don't think that GPLv3 is going to have much impact.

Reply Score: 1

markjensen Member since:
2005-07-26

Trenchsol,

Many of the items you mention are specifically excluded from the Microsoft deal (at least per the Novell information that was released). Anything that directly competes against an existing Microsoft product. OpenOffice was excluded by name, so the deal already had limitations on what was covered.

Reference: http://www.techworld.com/opsys/news/index.cfm?newsID=8956&pagtype=s...

Reply Score: 3

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Kernel is under GPL v2.


It looks as if Linux is warming up to the latest draft of GPLv3. I wouldn't be surprised if the Linux kernel was to be distributed under the new license some time next year.

KDE is not under GPL


Actually, most if it is. The libraries are under LGPL, but most of the rest of KDE is indeed released under GPLv2 (and possibly v3 in the future).

The rest could be forked. What about developers payed by corporations, like Novell ? They would want to keep their jobs.


There's no reason to believe that most corporations will stay away from GPLv3.

I don't think that GPLv3 is going to have much impact.


I'm sorry, but that sounds like wishful thinking on your part.

Reply Score: 5

trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

I wouldn't be surprised if the Linux kernel was to be distributed under the new license some time next year.

This sounds very much like wishfull thinking. Linus said that GPLv3 is not as bad as it was, but GPLv2 is better. He never considered using v3.

Do you realy think that Novell would keep Samba team on their jobs if they release Samba under v3 and v3 hurts Novell ? Novell would kick their asses out of the company ASAP. Who wouldn't ?

Reply Score: 1

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

This sounds very much like wishfull thinking.


Actually, it isn't. I really don't care if the kernel stays with version 2 or not.

Linus said that GPLv3 is not as bad as it was, but GPLv2 is better. He never considered using v3.


Actually, the reasons the kernel is still v2 (and might stay that way) is that there are so many copyright holders for the kernel - some of them having passed away - that it would be too complicated to do it. It has nothing to do with the quality of the license.

Do you realy think that Novell would keep Samba team on their jobs if they release Samba under v3 and v3 hurts Novell ?


Do you really think they wouldn't find employment anywhere else, that the Samba project would just dissolve? Give me a break.

Novell would kick their asses out of the company ASAP. Who wouldn't ?


I guess we'll find out soon enough, since Samba is indeed going to be relicensed under GPLv3 when the latter is finalized:

http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS7188736246.html

A couple of key Samba devs have actually *left* Novell over the MS pact. Here's one:

http://technocrat.net/d/2007/3/13/16012

Note that he *will* continue to work on Samba, as Samba doesn't actually belong to Novell...isn't FOSS great?

Reply Score: 5

trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

It is not that easy to find work as a system programmer theese days. Business applications, telecom, provisioning , that is something else. Guess they could go to Canonical, they were invited there.

Reply Score: 1

trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

I hope Samba won't dissolve, because I use it every day. That is why I don't like the whole commotion with v3. With v2 everybody was getting along with others.

The developers need a job which will allow them to work on Samba. Most of developer jobs do not allow one to code in a free time, because it is too demanding. Working 8 hours a day or, probanly, more, and you don't care much about coding once you get home.

Not to mention that many employers require developers to sign a contract that grant employer all of the code written by employee.

If they want to continue with Samba, they will need to find a friendly developer. It is not that easy.

Reply Score: 1

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

The "whole commotion" is not with GPLv3 vs. v2, it's about Novell's pact with Microsoft. *That* is what prompted the members of the Samba team to publicly criticize Novell, and made two of the developers leave the company (though they continue to develop Samba).

You seem to think that Samba *needs* Novell to continue. Well, they don't. That's the beauty of FOSS. Sure, development will be quicker if all team members are employed full-time to work on the project, but that doesn't mean that the project would stop if Novell was to suddenly cut the funding.

In any case, if Novell was to fire all Samba developers, they'd probably end up being hired by IBM or another Linux-friendly company.

Reply Score: 5

trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

I don't think that is always about philosophy, moral dilemmas, etc. Sometimes one has to be political a bit, a diplomat. There is no point in tearing down everything, just to show that you are "pure" and "politically straight". Business people are about money, most of the time, but eventually they coud decide to stand their ground and become stubborn, even if that harms their business.

Not every company will employ people who criticized former employers in public. IBM probably won't. Canonical or RedHat might, if they have open position.

Reply Score: 1

trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

KDE is dual licensed, QPL and GPL, as a matter of fact.

Reply Score: 1

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Indeed. That's why it's false to say that it isn't licenced under the GPL (as it is).

Reply Score: 5

mefisto Member since:
2005-08-18

Postgres is not under GPL.

NO. Postgres is under BSD licence. Or maybe you thought that only opensource licence is gpl ?
http://www.postgresql.org/about/licence

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Who will use GPLv3 ?


Firstly, KDE actually is under the GPL, as is GNOME, so your two major desktop environments are both probably going to use GPLv3. Certainly GNOME is.

The major piece of GNU/Linux distributions that will be GPLv3 is the GNU toolchain, including GNU binutils.

You see, GNU provides the compiler, GCC. Virtuall all core GNU/Linux functionality is written so that GCC will compile it. When GCC compiles it, the format for the executable binaries is ELF.

Loading ELF programs so the kernel can run them is part of GNU binutils.

GNU binutils (as well as GCC itself) is part of GNU, and it will certainly be GPLv3.

So ... if you want to produce a Linux distribution without GPLv3 parts, that will be fine, as long as you are prepared to have a distribution with no desktop, no compiler to make applications for it, and no means to load any compiled applications from disk for the kernel to run ...

That doesn't sound like it is going to be a terribly successful distribution to me.

Reply Score: 5

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

There are alternatives to the GNU's toolchain available. It's not saying that your distro will have no desktop, no compiler, and no way to load programs; saying you have a GPLv3-free distro would just require one of these alternatives.

Reply Score: 1

The Godfather IV
by ebasconp on Mon 4th Jun 2007 18:13 UTC
ebasconp
Member since:
2006-05-09

MS is setting up some kind of computer mafia, giving "protection" and "support" for all the people that will "pay them taxes" [i.e. signs a patent agreement] to them...

MS does not say what patents the community is infringing and, therefore, the need of that kind of "protection" is quite stupid.

GPL3 is going to be released soon, let's wait for its protection and let's move to it.

Edited 2007-06-04 18:27

Reply Score: 5

RE: The Godfather IV
by melkor on Tue 5th Jun 2007 05:37 UTC in reply to "The Godfather IV"
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

Yes, but the big problem is the Linux kernel. It MUST go to GPL v3, but in all honesty, I see Linus and his lieutenants not doing so for a variety of reasons - mainly money related. Linus and Co. are worried that if they go anti establishment/business with GPL v3, businesses will stop investing money in the Linux kernel, and he'll be out of job and have no income coming in.

Dave

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The Godfather IV
by sbergman27 on Tue 5th Jun 2007 13:23 UTC in reply to "RE: The Godfather IV"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Yes, but the big problem is the Linux kernel. It MUST go to GPL v3, but in all honesty, I see Linus and his lieutenants not doing so for a variety of reasons - mainly money related.
"""

Incorrect.

You are missing the major and overriding reason. Namely that it would be virtually impossible to make the move from a logistical and legal standpoint.

Everyone with code in the kernel (both living and dead) would have to agree. (Presumably the copyrights are considered part of his estate when a developer dies.) Any dissenters' and, I think, nonresponders' code would have to be rewritten from scratch.

And then a cloud would likely hang over the kernel, with certain parties, averse to Linux, questioning the legal status of the Linux license and taking advantage of it to fuel uncertainty about Linux.

I would much rather have a GPLv2 licensed kernel that everyone agrees is properly licensed, than a license-shifted GPLv3 kernel that would fuel fear, uncertainty and doubt about Linux for years, and possibly come back to bite us in court at some point.

In all the GPLv2 vs GPLv3 debate, we sometimes forget that regardless of the advantages or disadvantages of GPLv3, the GPLv2 is a great license in its own right. It has worked very well, indeed, for the Linux kernel for 15 years.

Sometimes it is the best thing, by far, to simply leave well enough alone.

Edited 2007-06-05 13:30

Reply Score: 3

Googol
Member since:
2006-11-24

I'd say: let's litigate over this ;)

Reply Score: 1

This is nothing more
by SlackerJack on Mon 4th Jun 2007 18:31 UTC
SlackerJack
Member since:
2005-11-12

Than a racket, the mafia used to do this for protection money, Microsoft should be stopped from doing this.

How can you sign deals with Microsoft on the grounds they have no proof of holding these patents?. This is yet another way for Microsoft to stifle competition since they don't know the meaning of "fair" competition.

Reply Score: 5

hohlraum
Member since:
2005-12-13

souls to MS.

Reply Score: 2

FSF comment
by Almafeta on Mon 4th Jun 2007 18:36 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

In the meantime, Microsoft's covenant not to sue users of Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise will be extended to all General Public License v3 users as soon as Novell includes GPLv3 code within its Linux distribution, according to the Free Software Foundation.

Somehow, I doubt it. The law does not allow a covenant between Groups A and B to grant things that can only be given away by Group C.

Edited to add that there's a conversation on this topic in the conversations area on the OSNews v4 beta.

Edited 2007-06-04 18:54

Reply Score: 4

FSF is a party to the agreement; Novell has the choice
by ubit on Mon 4th Jun 2007 18:39 UTC in reply to "FSF comment"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

FSF, since Novell includes their copyrighted code. Novell has the choice of including GPLv3 software to get around the lack of expiration date on MS's coupons.

Reply Score: 3

SCO
by PipoDeClown on Mon 4th Jun 2007 19:00 UTC
PipoDeClown
Member since:
2005-07-19

isnt this exactly what SCO did?

Reply Score: 0

RE: SCO
by IanSVT on Mon 4th Jun 2007 19:03 UTC in reply to "SCO"
IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

What do you mean? SCO's business was/is going down the tubes because they don't really have anything of real technical merit. They might have thought they could file suit against IBM among others for a quick settlement. Conspiracy theorists believe Microsoft was behind them filing suit as part of their larger anti Linux stance.

In either event, this isn't the same thing.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: SCO
by ubit on Mon 4th Jun 2007 20:16 UTC in reply to "RE: SCO"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

An actor on behalf of MS had Baystar get in touch with SCO; MS also paid them UNIX or Linux licenses (not sure which) to the tune of 20 million dollars.

Reply Score: 3

Microsoft Gives...
by gonzalo on Mon 4th Jun 2007 19:15 UTC
gonzalo
Member since:
2005-07-06

Microsoft Gives Xandros Linux Users Ficticious Patent Protection.

There, fixed.

Reply Score: 5

way to go Xandros!
by cylent on Mon 4th Jun 2007 19:22 UTC
cylent
Member since:
2007-04-26

ha!
i don't use xandros anyway so it doesnt matter.

I figure Xandros is short on some cash and what a better way for them to make some when MS ends up filling their pockets?

Way to go Xandros!
You're an embarrassment to the community!

Reply Score: 5

interop
by alucinor on Mon 4th Jun 2007 19:32 UTC
alucinor
Member since:
2006-01-06

Will these interop efforts be open standards? Or will customers be purchasing closed source "Linux"-branded interoperability? Not really Linux in the Operating System sense if that's the case.

Reply Score: 4

Something has to be done
by Lousewort on Mon 4th Jun 2007 19:44 UTC
Lousewort
Member since:
2006-09-12

Strategically, these deals will change the whole face of software freedom if they are allowed to continue. Linux competes with Microsoft only because of it's freedom. Binding Linux with patent chains through deals with commercial linux distros allows Microsoft to ultimately compete on a level playing field- and under those conditions Linux will lose.

I suspect hell would freeze over before Microsoft does this sort of deal with the free distros like Debian, Ubuntu or Slackware. In the business world these non-commercialized, unsupported and apparently patent-unprotected distros will become more and more frowned upon, less and less attractive and eventually dwindle to nothing.

That is what MS hopes to accomplish- an arena where freedom is no more. An arena dominated by commercial companies where they can win.

Edited 2007-06-04 19:51

Reply Score: 2

RE: Something has to be done
by Windows Sucks on Mon 4th Jun 2007 20:25 UTC in reply to "Something has to be done"
Windows Sucks Member since:
2005-11-10

I suspect that actually distros like Debian and Ubuntu will not have much to worry about when GPL3 comes out or even now (Unless stated by MS by name) being that Ubuntu and Xandros are built on the Debian code base.

When GPL3 comes out Debian (All but the Kernel) will automatically fall under it and when Xandros goes to release a new version it will then also fall under GPL3 or have to fork. If they fork then they will be the ones who will dwindle to nothing (Same with Novell if it tries to fork)

We will see this time next year what MS is gonna to do next to try and halt this.

In the mean time it will be interesting to see if Linus likes the new GPL3 wording or will stay with GPL2

What I don't understand is how legally MS can offer patent protection to a company that sells software that the company selling the software doesn't own but licenses its self??

Reply Score: 2

RE: Something has to be done
by l3v1 on Mon 4th Jun 2007 20:28 UTC in reply to "Something has to be done"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

Debian, Ubuntu or Slackware


Funny - not - you mention Ubuntu there, since I would've thought Canonical to make a deal earlier than smaller distros like Xandros or others. Especially since Ubuntu is more profit oriented than the smaller players, and neither Debian nor Slackware fits under that label.

I just hope Debian and Slackware - and some others - will survive this game. I just hope MS will keep on targeting commercial distros. But thing is, the remaining community distros would just become a niche OS waiting for a netcraft confirmation of exiting at the noon of a sunny autumn day (betcha their [MS] dream is eerily similar to such picture).

Question is, how many people bet that we are too stupid that we think Microsoft's recent related moves are totally transparently a FUD campaign targeted to gain a larger foothold in Linux and FOSS land ? I mean the mass of user crowds. Because we are not the target audience of this license dance, it's them, who use, who take sides, who pay up the money, who make a company win over another. And MS has always excelled in convincing people.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Something has to be done
by sbergman27 on Mon 4th Jun 2007 20:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Something has to be done"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Funny - not - you mention Ubuntu there, since I would've thought Canonical to make a deal earlier than smaller distros like Xandros or others. Especially since Ubuntu is more profit oriented than the smaller players, and neither Debian nor Slackware fits under that label.
"""

You can dispense with the Ubuntu bashing, please.

Xandros is one of the more profit oriented distros out there. Successors to Corel Linux, they have always been commercial. Although, I believe that they now make old versions available for free.

(Not that "commercial" is necessarily bad. And, of course, "commercial" and "proprietary" are orthonal concepts.)

I must confess that I had not considered Xandros being a party in such a deal. Not so much because I hold Xandros's ethics in high esteem, but because I very rarely ever even think of Xandros.

But in retrospect, it makes sense.

I'm not sure that I have ever heard anyone from Xandros speak about Freedom.

And although I've been accused here, upon a number of occassions, of being a pragmatic OSSer who only cares about expedience and practicality... I *do* notice when a Linux distributor seemingly ignores the Freedom aspect. And I don't like it.

I recommended a Microtel workstation to a customer earlier today and they ordered it. It comes with Xandros. I could kick myself!

It will be interesting to see what Linspire does. They are in the same niche as Xandros. But, to their credit, they do seem to understand the Freedom bit, even if they also understand the commercial bit.

I guess we'll see.

Perhaps we should drop a few notes to Kevin in advance of his being approached by MS... as if he hasn't already!

Edited 2007-06-04 21:02

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Something has to be done
by Almafeta on Mon 4th Jun 2007 23:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Something has to be done"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

I'm not sure that I have ever heard anyone from Xandros speak about Freedom.

I'm glad for that, then. Hearing people speaking about open source like it's anything other than a way to save development costs, is like hearing that little jingle that tells you Office's Clippit is loading (and locking your computer in the process). Both are annoying, but unfortunately, only one has been done away with.

Reply Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Hearing people speaking about open source like it's anything other than a way to save development costs, is like hearing that little jingle that tells you Office's Clippit is loading
"""

Almafeta,

I hear you.

I think that OSS has many advantages... and also some disadvantages, all depending upon the particular situation.

But there is really more to it than that. The Freedom aspect is very important.

I'm not big on emphasizing this particular dichotomy, but OSS needs FS, and FS need OSS. They are really one and the same, which is why I hesitate to separate the two. But there is definitely a Yin/Yang quality to the relationship. And in the end, we are better off for both.

I honestly believe that those well meaning souls who whip out "The Four Freedoms" to support their arguments, as though they are quotations from the Scriptures, ignoring the fact that not everyone may subscribe to them, inadvertantly do more harm than good by pissing off intelligent people who may happen to hold similar, but not so extreme^W^Wthe same opinions.

I value both the practical advantages and the philosophical ideals of FOSS.

But I can tell you that some days the fundamentalists can irritate me enough that I actually wonder why I have put so much heart and soul into advocating FOSS to my customers and coworkers.

Edited 2007-06-05 00:11

Reply Score: 5

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

I'm not sure that I have ever heard anyone from Xandros speak about Freedom.

I'm glad for that, then. Hearing people speaking about open source like it's anything other than a way to save development costs, is like hearing that little jingle that tells you Office's Clippit is loading (and locking your computer in the process). Both are annoying, but unfortunately, only one has been done away with.


Anyone sympathetic to Microsoft would of course share your annoyance and be glad if no one at Xandros spoke about freedom. However, the following link points out such a Xandros employee, Kevin MacPherson, who dismisses concerns about freedom as "religion". After this quote is a summary of subsequent responses between customers and MacPherson, to give us an idea about the mood close to Xandros right now.

Xandros Deal Isn't Identical to Novell's
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070604183519938

Excerpt:
--------
This is quite interesting. The Xandros user forum that I put in News Picks has an interchange that you will find interesting, when the Xandros employee assigned to moderate the forum steps in to try to calm down the anger:

"Anyways I can understand both sides and do understand that Linux is a religion and cause emotions to run high I just want everyone to take pause before posting and make sure that we keep the discussion going."
_________________
Kevin MacPherson
Xandros - Product Manager
-------

Edited 2007-06-05 17:26

Reply Score: 4

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Perhaps we should drop a few notes to Kevin in advance of his being approached by MS... as if he hasn't already!


Funny you should mention that, I just received his newsletter in my mailbox, and it warns that GPLv3 might actually *lessen* choice despite its good intentions of increasing freedom.

Here's an excerpt:

"Well intentioned, the FSF believes that sometimes limiting choice is necessary to protect the freedom of "free" software. As a means of removing the "handcuffs" that come with things like Tivo, DRM-encoded DVDs and software patents, the GPLv3 may end up giving us a different pair of handcuffs by removing even the option of easily integrating DRM and patented software with GPLv3 software, despite the fact that this is what some users want. Like most of us, those drafting the GPLv3 don't like DRM and software patents, but my guess is that they also don't watch many DRM-encoded DVD movies, own iPods, or use patent-restricted software like Adobe Acrobat Reader."

I do think he's exaggerating a bit, as it is unlikely that the kernel will be licenced under GPLv3, and the fact that some parts of a Linux distribution might become GPLv3 should not prevent Linux from being able to play DVDs, sync with iPods and run Adobe Acrobat...

To be fair, he does end with this:

"I will reserve my ultimate judgment on GPLv3 for the final release; but, as currently drafted, Linspire may not be able to support GPLv3 or continue investing millions into open source projects that may end up limiting choice, rather than expanding it. All I ask is that the drafters of the GPLv3 at least consider all the consequences, not just to Microsoft, but to the Linux and open source movement as well. Perhaps they will conclude that limiting choice may not be necessary to see Linux and FOSS advance."

I really don't think the goal of the FSF is to legally prevent people from running proprietary applications on their Linux PCs. If that is really what the GPLv3 would do (and to me there's no proof of that yet), then you can bet it will not be a widely-adopted license. So far, it doesn't seem like there is any reason to panic.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Something has to be done
by b3timmons on Wed 6th Jun 2007 15:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Something has to be done"
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

Funny you should mention that, I just received his newsletter in my mailbox, and it warns that GPLv3 might actually *lessen* choice despite its good intentions of increasing freedom.

Given Linspire's past proprietary tendencies, his unsupported warning is entire predictable.

"I will reserve my ultimate judgment on GPLv3 for the final release; but, as currently drafted, Linspire may not be able to support GPLv3 or continue investing millions into open source projects that may end up limiting choice, rather than expanding it. All I ask is that the drafters of the GPLv3 at least consider all the consequences, not just to Microsoft, but to the Linux and open source movement as well. Perhaps they will conclude that limiting choice may not be necessary to see Linux and FOSS advance."

"Limiting choice", "consequences", and "advance" are subjective terms in this context, ripe for abuse. He might sincerely believe that Tivoization and deals that circumvent licenses are choices that should not be limited, their limitation consequences to be considered and their existence necessary for the advance of FOSS. Such beliefs require support, however, and given the bad reception the beliefs have already had for many months, I find his concerns to be at best disconnected with reality, more likely--especially in light of Microsoft's tactics--rhetoric aimed at gullible Linspire customers.

I really don't think the goal of the FSF is to legally prevent people from running proprietary applications on their Linux PCs. If that is really what the GPLv3 would do (and to me there's no proof of that yet), then you can bet it will not be a widely-adopted license.

Stallman is on record as not caring about whether proprietary software is ever made illegal.(*) For non-free (proprietary) software in general, the GPL3 is no different than the GPL2. If it were any different, loud noises from heavily vested interests would have already been made.

------------
(*): LWN: Is it your belief that "high-paying organizations" (i.e. proprietary software vendors) should be banned?

Richard Stallman: I would not ban high salaries, but I think they should have a high tax bracket. As for making software proprietary, I really don't care whether it is legal as long as in practice it is rare enough to have no significant impact on society.

From http://lwn.net/2002/features/rms.php3

Reply Score: 4

One word to describe it:
by arctic on Mon 4th Jun 2007 22:10 UTC
arctic
Member since:
2006-04-19

Awful!

Reply Score: 2

Misreporting away!
by Almafeta on Mon 4th Jun 2007 23:40 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

As might be expected, the entire point of the agreement -- to get Windows and MS apps running together with Xandros -- is distilled down to a single point of a large legal document -- protection for the people involved (heck, only one party involved).

I think people are really overreacting to this announcement. The stats shown in the Microsoft Windows vs Linux Vulnerabilities: Metrics and Techniques for Analysis seminar given today showed that the distros that Microsoft is making deals with (SUSE, Xandros) have much better repair times and many fewer bugs overall than those they aren't dealing with (most notably, RedHat was the worst in pretty much every field measured). (That wasn't the point of the seminar: the seminar was on how to find these stats out instead of what the stats showed.)

Interestingly, there's only one outlier in this correlation -- Ubuntu, which had the lowest number of bugs and the quickest repair time of all the Linux distros. I wonder who Microsoft is going to be courting next?

And as to whether or not Microsoft has plans for Linux? One of the programs I saw being demoed in-seminar today was a Linux IDE.

Reply Score: 2

No cash involved?
by Geoff Gigg on Mon 4th Jun 2007 23:45 UTC
Geoff Gigg
Member since:
2006-01-21

Several people have commented about "quick injection of cash", or words to that effect. Unlike the Novell deal, I see no mention of cash payments here with Xandros. No certificates either. Did I miss something, or is this speculation about under-the-table arrangements?

In any event, I am a Xandros user (of the OCE version, so I am not a paying user, although I did contemplate recommending the server version - but it appeared too late).

By coincidence, today, before I heard the news, I made the decision to move to something else and sent away for PC-BSD and Debian Etch to cover both ends of the spectrum. Kind of reinforces it. Xandros is going in a different direction, which is fine for them, just not where I'm headed.

Reply Score: 3

RE: No cash involved?
by ubit on Tue 5th Jun 2007 01:44 UTC in reply to "No cash involved?"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Xandros won't be much in a while. How can they survive on GPLv2 code only? I know even now that they don't have the latest and greatest programs, but even their unsupported Debian repository is aging. BTW I think the 'benefit' that Xandros get is the sales help from MS and (plus MS seemingly gets to kill a nice Linux distro) and the convenant, while Xandros pays royalties to MS per box. Xandros don't have patents to trade with MS, unlike Novell.

Reply Score: 3

Hmm
by Xaero_Vincent on Tue 5th Jun 2007 00:35 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

There is a bigger problem than what meets the eye.

Xandros gets patent protection but loses most of it's users and the ability to ship GPLv3 code. That means future versions of Linux because FSF-owned GNU code is required by the Linux kernel.

What good is patent protection when there is almost no users and no ability to ship future OSes without forking?

Another thing... this gives other companies incentive to check their patent portfolio. What if dozens of software companies claim that Linux and FOSS violates their patents and wants royalties?

How does Linux remain free if companies end up having to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties?

They don't. In fact, the FOSS companies couldn't even survive.

Edited 2007-06-05 00:45

Reply Score: 4

RE: Hmm
by ubit on Tue 5th Jun 2007 01:41 UTC in reply to "Hmm"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

"Another thing... this gives other companies incentive to check their patent portfolio. What if dozens of software companies claim that Linux and FOSS violates their patents and wants royalties?"

I was just thinking of this a few hours ago, too. It really seems the software patent issue in the US is going to have be decided on somehow because the FSF will never include patented things in their code. How MS can claim all this "willful infringement" stuff while Linux users complain about not being able to play mp3s b/c patents are such a concern...it's really a blood boiler. Plus MS gets royalties on copyrighted GPL code.

Reply Score: 3

Microsoft signs a deal with Linux
by OSGuy on Tue 5th Jun 2007 01:13 UTC
OSGuy
Member since:
2006-01-01

lol don't you worry all, soon Microsoft might even sign a deal with Linus himself haha ;) Now that would be funny.

Jokes aside, releasing the patents Microsoft claims to own will be unwise as it might escalate things.

I think their next target is Lindows/Linspire.

Edited 2007-06-05 01:18

Reply Score: 1

korpenkraxar Member since:
2005-09-10

Maybe we should put up a bet on some international betting site :-)

Reply Score: 1

uh
by deanlinkous on Tue 5th Jun 2007 02:42 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

A end-user cannot even get a CSS license only hardware/software creators/sellers so it certainly cannot be up to me as a end-user to pay a CSS royalty fee so I am afraid it is up to the software guru that wrote the infringing code and if he lives in adu-dabi then I guess we are both off the hook! ;)

That being said, if there is a good alternative to patent covered formats/codec then I use the alternative but if they have the market locked up and under control then IMO that is unfair and I simply ignore any patent issue and use whatever.

Imabadboy ;)

Reply Score: 3

Debian/Slackware
by hitest on Tue 5th Jun 2007 03:39 UTC
hitest
Member since:
2006-10-28

"I just hope Debian and Slackware - and some others - will survive this game. I just hope MS will keep on targeting commercial distros. But thing is, the remaining community distros would just become a niche OS waiting for a netcraft confirmation of exiting at the noon of a sunny autumn day (betcha their [MS] dream is eerily similar to such picture). "

I'm a Debian, Slackware, FreeBSD user. Heh, I think it will be a cold day in hell before Patrick V. sells out to MS. Novell, Xandros.......they made a mistake going to bed with MS......you can't trust the boys from Redmond.

Reply Score: 2

b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

Supposed Microsoft patents are so special, that the world is given such lovely deals involving Novell and Xandros. Yet we have lost count (in civil suits) over the years of what a hypocrite Microsoft is when it comes to respecting patents and copyrights. Here is a suggestion that, yet again, anyone else's patents get little respect:

Patent creators say Microsoft lied to get better deal on DVR patents
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070604-patent-creators-say-m...

Edited 2007-06-05 05:02

Reply Score: 2

Get rich quick
by Wemgadge on Tue 5th Jun 2007 13:42 UTC
Wemgadge
Member since:
2005-07-02

1. Start linux distribution then call Microsoft and ask for patent indemnification.
2. ???????
3. Profit!

Okay, it's silly.

Reply Score: 1

On its head
by Gone fishing on Tue 5th Jun 2007 17:18 UTC
Gone fishing
Member since:
2006-02-22

Mmmm I wonder MS signs a deal with Xandros, it knows that GPL3 is round the corner and that means that it will also extend patent protection to all of Linux. Why would MS do this? If it pulls out of the Novel and now Xandros deal it will look bad for MS a PR shot to the foot.

MS is not stupid – no it looks to me more like they are trying to protect there software from patents held by the Linux community. A patent war would be bad for MS, they would have to reveal they code in any discovery process – who knows what patents they are violating under the hood (Vista users might get sued! MS might have to stop selling Windows!), and there would also be risk that there source code would leak.

I think we might be standing this on its head MS is protecting its self and if you can spread a little FUD at the same time why not?

Reply Score: 1