Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Jun 2007 18:51 UTC, submitted by WillM
Linspire Kevin Carmony, CEO of Linspire, writes: "With the recent news of several Linux vendors entering into partnership agreements with Microsoft (Novell, Linspire, Xandros), there has been much debate recently about two factions of Linux forming. Saying that Linux is going to be torn in two, makes for good press and lively debates, but this is certainly nothing new for Linux."
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RE[3]: Withs and withouts
by butters on Fri 29th Jun 2007 07:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Withs and withouts"
butters
Member since:
2005-07-08

there is a very real wrong vs. right in this case.

First of all, I'm not defending the patent covenants. I think that this situation is exhibit A in the case against software patents and the broken patent system in general. I agree that there is a right and wrong in this case, and I think that the community has spoken. Red Hat, Canonical, Mandriva, and all of the community distributions have rejected the patent covenants. Novell and a few "also-rans" have distanced themselves from the community, and the GPLv3 presents a threat.

These deals are likely to backfire on these vendors, and I can't imagine how they could cause any legal setbacks for the community. These alleged patents will never be argued in court. By signing these deals, Microsoft has put themselves in a situation where it would be incredibly inexpedient for them to sue any Linux vendor or user for patent infringement. The community knows that, the mainstream media knows that, and the corporate world knows that.

Carmony and friends know this, too, but they also understand the basic point I made in my original post. They knew making patent deals with Microsoft would be meritless and unpopular in the Linux community, but they also knew that it would be popular among Microsoft-dominated small business IT shops.

They decided that the Linux community would moan and groan for a while, and meanwhile they would get their foot in the door of an SMB market that they believe is ripe for the picking (it's not). The vendors that made these deals are the ones that lust after the SMB market. It doesn't matter for the vendors that target the enterprise and the public sector, which are more realistic and profitable markets for commercial Linux right now.

Novell, Linspire, and Xandros are mismanaged companies that make bad decisions. The Microsoft deals were classic examples. These vendors pose no threat to the Linux community. The market will ultimately take care of them.

people and corporations are swallowing what basically amounts to extortion and justifying it by calling it 'interoperability'.

The thing is, it's not extortion. The Linux vendors aren't charging anything for these patent covenants, which reflects the fact that they have no real value.

Microsoft says these deals are about patents. The Linux vendors says they're about interoperability. Bull. These deals are about a marketing strategy where Linux vendors sell the idea that Linux can play nice in a Microsoft environment, and Microsoft sells the idea that adopting Linux doesn't mean abandoning Microsoft technologies. Some Linux vendors insist on trying to beat Microsoft at their own game on their home turf, and Microsoft is happy to keep the dream alive.

i am honestly flabbergasted that there are still (honest) people defending their actions.

Not defending. Explaining. Why these deals happened, why they don't matter, and why they will fail.

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