More Linux Firms Standing Up To Microsoft

from the won't-sign-the-dotted-line dept

After getting a number of companies to sign its interoperability/patent licensing deals, Microsoft is finding that many Linux distributors aren’t interested in these pacts. Red Hat, Canonical (the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux) and now Mandriva have all stated that they want no part of these deals, and see no reason to sign them. As Mandriva CEO Francois Bancilhon correctly put it, the route to interoperability is not through deals, but through open standards. Of course, these deals were never really about interoperability, but about Microsoft looking to demonstrate that some Linux firms agreed with it about the need to license patents. Of course, the firms that have joined the Microsoft camp are seeing benefits, as Microsoft is sending business their way, particularly in the case of Novell. That being said, Novell has burned a lot of bridges in the open source community, while these holdout firms are likely to benefit from added love among Linux fans.


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Comments on “More Linux Firms Standing Up To Microsoft”

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23 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Tight rope walking...

I hope the ones the signed those deals with Microsoft read all of the fine print. Some say that interoperability should not have to set in stone be a contract while say that without a contract (a firm foundation of rules) interoperability could become one big mess. Microsoft could be setting up all these deals as part of a future plan to trap those that agreed to them. Or Microsoft could have finally seen the light and decided that trying to tightly control the software market is profitable in the short run but will take you feet out from under you in the long term.

Notice how I never really said I was for or against the idea of all these deals? It’s because a quetion like that cannot just be answered in one clever post or insightful comment (kinda like net neutrality).

ScaredOfTheMan says:

Actions speak louder than words

Folks I am an MS years for over 15 years, I am not an “MS hater”

I don’t know what the point of these deals are? If you want interoperability then make your product inter-operable, instead we have SMB2 vs SMB, over 200 mystery pattens and all sorts of other proprietary stuff coming out of MS.

I do not believe Linux Desktop will take over the world, but I am happy that its there, its like a cloud (a little one anyway) hanging over MS’ ability to make the Desktop less and less under our control.

Anonymous Coward says:

Maybe the novell deal is a plus though. Without the ability to interoperate seemlessly many individuals would never switch to linux. The only way I was able to swith my sister to linux is to show her SUSE, and now she’ll swear by it. After kicking and screaming when I switched her to SUSE from windows, she now screams when I want to switch to Ubuntu, my new favorite distro. But Novell’s headed the right direction (maybe by accident – but still), we need some sort of middle group for people just switching.

jLl says:

patents...you forget about them so quickly

The problem with just simply making OSs interoperable is patents.

MS owns enough that just trying to match them is a quick way to get sued — despite the benefit for users. And, open-source isn’t, in general, designed to be profitable on its own (thus closed-source versions and donations), so an open-source company getting sued is a huge hit — especially when MS is the plaintiff.

These deals save the linux distros from being sued because they want to make their desktop closer to Windows so more Windows users can switch easily. And, you still don’t get the point of the deal?

Linux is NOT a good OS for the majority of people. Trying to implement Windows-like features, to make the transition easier, can be a point. Making cross-system networking easier is another.

Of course MS can use these to complete f#&@ over those who have made deals already. But once they release an MS-like feature, it’s open within the open-source license. So, even if they get screwed, other distros will be able to quickly pick up and use anything these 3 companies release.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: patents...you forget about them so quickly

These deals save the Linux distros from being sued because they want to make their desktop closer to Windows so more Windows users can switch easily. And, you still don’t get the point of the deal?

Actually you’re wrong there. The deals are that Microsoft won’t sue their customers, the companies can still be sued. Microsoft can’t license patents to the companies for Linux without licensing them to everyone else for use in Linux. It’s a loophole in the GPL that allows them to do this deal, therefore going against the spirit of the GPL which is why everyone is so pissed off about these deals.

Reed says:

Re: patents...you forget about them so quickly

“Linux is NOT a good OS for the majority of people. Trying to implement Windows-like features, to make the transition easier, can be a point. Making cross-system networking easier is another.”

Linux is a good system for everyone who is not already stuck on Windows.

Considering the rest of the world will be plenty happy with hand me-down single core processors and the fact that XP support and sales will start ramping down means most of the people coming online for the first time will probably choose Linux over Windows.

It just makes sense. Linux is light weight, easy to use, and free. How does Vista compare to this? If MS wasn’t still stuck in the 80’s maybe they would have already understood that bigger isn’t always better.

This has already starting happening in many countries in South America as well as Asia and Africa. While Windows may still be in the “calculated” majority it is losing ground extremely fast in many circles.

jLl says:

Re: patents... yeah right

How will it blow up in their faces?

The deals make it clear that anything released is available to the ENTIRE linux community. Of course, under license, but so is everything else in the community.

There’s too much blind hatred towards MS, that I don’t see them actually breaching their contracts; they can’t afford that size of a class-action suit that would surely follow.

MATT (profile) says:

sending business to others?

I know that MS is “helping Novell”, but I can’t say that they’re anti everything else. It’s that wonderful MS style: “we’ll help what we want, but we won’t hinder the rest” (same thing when it boils down to it though.)

Example: MS distributes many linux distros via their shop for free, for some reason.

Ferin says:

Couldn't they sue MS?

They keep making these claims without substantiating them. Couldn’t one of the firms make a claim of defmation (or libel or slander, I don’t remember the definitions) and sue microdoft to put an end to this? I relaize they’ve got deep pockets, but it might be fun to see them rocked back on their heels a little even if such suit went no where.

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