Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:01 UTC, submitted by AdministratorX
Microsoft In its second such agreement this week, Microsoft has struck a deal under which it will extend amnesty to a company that's using what the software maker claims is patented Microsoft intellectual property embedded in the open source Linux computer operating system. Under a deal with LG Electronics, disclosed late Wednesday, Microsoft will forgo any Linux-related patent claims against the South Korean electronics manufacturer. In return, Microsoft will gain access to certain intellectual property produced by LG.
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Come on...
by chocobanana on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:40 UTC
Member since:

Ok, I've been following this issue and here's a little summary:

- So far, there's already 5 deals with the same terms.
- General assumption is that Microsoft hasn't disclosed the patents on which OSS code infringes.
- General assumption is that this is a FUD campaign.

I haven't commented on this one yet because I wanted to see this go on for a while and I don't want to take any conclusions yet, but I'll speculate a bit this time.

Think a little bit, is there any a chance a giant company like Novell or LG would sign deals like this without knowing what's at stake?

What I think is that all or some of these 235 patents were shown behing closed doors under NDAs etc. etc. or something else, like some kind of colective company conspiracy agreement is being forged against OSS. So it might be in MS interest that we don't know anything about these patents - it's easier to create FUD than digg real proof or tell the truth.

All these deals involve mutual payments between Microsoft and the other company, plus some kind of intelectual property share agreeement, so in the end there might also another mutual benefit here (think access to MS closed source code on one hand, think creation of FUD on the other hand or something else, yes, this strange, I'm also confused).

Both companies on each deal pratically don't loose money, but the big winner may be Microsoft because they just started a huge, deranging and confusing campaign and they won't spend a (million) dollar in courts because in the end they're the ones who decide if there's a litigation case or not.

Edited 2007-06-08 15:43

Reply Score: 4

RE: Come on...
by KenJackson on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:47 in reply to "Come on..."
KenJackson Member since:

but the big winner may be Microsoft because...

I'm sure that what Microsoft wants. But there's another issue alluded to in the article. Microsoft may be racing to get ahead of GPL3. So maybe it's Microsoft that has the "Sword of Damocles" (PLan's analogy) hanging over its head.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Come on...
by Cutterman on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:47 in reply to "RE: Come on..."
Cutterman Member since:

MS is not "racing to get ahead of GPL3".

MS _adores_ GPL3, it _wants_ GPL3 as soon as possible and it wants GPL3 to be as exclusionary as possible.

Then it can turn to businesses and say, "C'mon, you don't want to use software that is licences under GPL3 do you? Why that gives those smelly longhairs the right to all your code, invalidates all you patents and Stallman will come in at night and rape the company cat".

MS couldn't give a twopenny shit about what happens to Novell, Xandros etc. after GPL3 - they're just so much toilet paper.

And GPL3 will fragment the Linux codebase into two incompatible halves, to the disadvantage of developers and folks trying to keep their licences in line. That'll suit MS down to the ground.

Oh no sirree, LS is crazy for GPL3, and all these shenanigans are designed to provoke the FSF to release GPL3 as soon as possible and make it as tight as possible.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Come on...
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:45 in reply to "Come on..."
ubit Member since:

Good analysis, but Novell and Xandros have both stated in the press that Microsoft did not show them patents in Linux. Do we believe them or not? I don't know. Can an NDA compel them to lie?

Humourously, Xandros' CEO also spoke to a reporter with an MS person on the line, said he wasn't sure if they had any patents, then hung up and phoned back and said Linux wasn't infringing on patents.

"Within a half-hour of the end of the interview, Typaldos left a voice message for this reporter in which he said, "I wanted to make it very clear that your question about 'Do I think that Linux is infringing on Microsoft patents'? The answer is a categorical no. The answer is no.""
"We disagree with the recent statements made by Microsoft on the topic of Linux and patents. Importantly, our agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property. When we entered the patent cooperation agreement with Microsoft, Novell did not agree or admit that Linux or any other Novell offering violates Microsoft patents."

Microsoft on patent specifics (very much BS):
" First you get everyone riled claiming open source and Linux infringe on your patents, then you won't detail those patents. Why? The paperwork.

Yes, Microsoft cited administrative overhead for not detailing the 235 Microsoft patents its chief legal counsel recently told Fortune exist in Linux and open source.

Microsoft patents attorney Jim Markwith told OSBC it would be "impossible" for Redmond's bureaucrats to respond to the volume of responses that would result from disclosure. Also, apparently, it's ungentlemanly to name names.

"Most people who are familiar with patents know it's not standard operating procedure to list the patents," Markwith said. "The response of that would be administratively impossible to keep up with." Far better to rattle sabers instead."

Edited 2007-06-08 18:48

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Come on...
by Silent_Seer on Sat 9th Jun 2007 14:20 in reply to "Come on..."
Silent_Seer Member since:

they won't spend a (million) dollar in courts because in the end they're the ones who decide if there's a litigation case or not.

They (MS) would rather spend a 100 million dollar campaign to claim that linux infringes on their patents and that users (as in corporations) need to license it from them as well (without knowing what the patents are), keeping away a majority of those CEOs who are skeptical of linux and even those who are evaluating it.

It's your word of mouth against their media campaign. Any guesses why they are, well, er, not so loved, by many folks out there?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Come on...
by Elektro on Sun 10th Jun 2007 18:31 in reply to "Come on..."
Elektro Member since:

Why should someone talk about patents under NDA? Patents are published, for everyone to see.

Reply Parent Score: 1