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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:30 AM EST

Think we might have something to worry about in this pact between Microsoft and their new best friend, Sun Microsystems? They have buried the legal hatchet, settled out all claims Sun had against MS and also agreed on some "other matters":

"Part of the reason could be the accumulated weight of all the litigation it has faced. Even Microsoft gets tired of being portrayed publicly as a bullying monopolist, and so it's willing to settle--in deals greased by its huge wad of cash--and move on.

"'Microsoft seems to breed a lot of rhetoric from companies that it litigates against,' said Mike McNeely, an antitrust attorney with Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich. 'But strategic considerations may lead both Microsoft and its opponents to say this is silly and maybe it's something we can fix with money.'"

Certainly, $1.95 billion is money to fix by, especially to those proprietary dudes who think nothing else matters, but there is obviously more to this story than money.

$1.95 billion is what MS is paying Sun in the settlement, who promptly laid off 3,300 employees in a cost-cutting restructuring move (what do you want to bet the Linux guys are the first to walk the plank?):

"Under the truce terms, Sun ended patent and antitrust suits against the Redmond, Wash., software giant. The companies also signed a 10-year technology sharing agreement.

"The pact will mean a cash windfall for Sun. Microsoft will pay Sun $700 million for antitrust issues, $900 million for patent issues and $350 million for up-front royalties in the technology deal. . . .

"'This creates a patent regime between the two companies so that we don't run afoul of each other,' Ballmer said. 'The specific technical collaboration is focused on talking to each other across the network. But as we looked at this we said, "Let's make sure we are clean on our patents."'. . .

"Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun also released financial information and restructuring plans. Sun will eliminate 3,300 jobs to drive down costs. The cuts will be 'broad-based, geographically and functionally,' McNealy said.

"The company also promoted executive vice president Jonathan Schwartz to president and COO."

You remember Mr. Schwartz, don't you? Mr. Jonathan "We have no Linux strategy" Schwartz? Maybe Rob Enderle finally got one thing right:

"'Sun and Microsoft have a common enemy: Linux,' said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group in San Jose, California. 'They are seeing each other as less of a threat and, together, facing a common threat.'"

Let's not forget David Berlind's article on Sun and SCO, either. The joint MS-Sun press release is here. The Register has a list of what the pact contains, including more details on setting up the "patent regime":

"The parties have agreed to a broad covenant not to sue with respect to all past patent infringement claims they may have against each other. The agreement also provides for potential future extensions of this type of covenant. The two companies have also agreed to embark on negotiations for a patent cross-license agreement between them."

Sun is also stating, and no doubt this is for the eyes and ears of the EU Commission and whatever court MS will be appealing their judgment to, that Sun is satisfied that this pact solves all issues it brought against MS in the EU. In addition, CRN says MS got them to agree to sign up for a license it can show to the judge in the US antitrust monitoring program. You'll remember SCO got one of those just before a recent hearing:

"Sun has agreed to sign a license for the Windows desktop operating system communications protocols under Microsoft's Communications Protocol Program, established pursuant to Microsoft's consent decree and final judgment with the U.S. Department of Justice and 18 state attorneys general."

There is also an agreement about Java support for those using Microsoft products and an agreement to allow servers to interoperate, as well as email, database and authentication software, and to improve collaboration between Java and .NET.

So, they plan to play nice together. Think GNU/Linux will get to play in their sandbox? I can't help but remember that after MS and then-AOL now Time Warner settled their legal dispute back in May of 2003, they also mentioned certains public terms and some "other matters" they had privately agreed to in that settlement:

"As part of the broad settlement announced Thursday, Microsoft will pay $750 million to AOL and grant it a royalty-free, seven-year license for its Internet Explorer browser, ensuring that it will continue to be used by millions of America Online customers. The companies also agreed to work toward making their fast-growing instant-messaging products compatible.

"The agreement could give Microsoft even greater influence over the future of the Internet, as well as the distribution of online music and video entertainment. The Redmond, Wash., company already commands monopoly power in personal-computer software, and its Internet Explorer browser has become the primary on-ramp to the Internet for hundreds of millions of people world-wide. AOL, which owns the rights to the rival Netscape browser, was one of the last remaining counterweights to Microsoft.

"The two companies Thursday said they would remain competitors but would work together to bring new digital content and services to customers, as well as a common approach to protecting copyrighted material online.

"Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said the agreement could accelerate the adoption of digital media. 'While our companies will continue to compete, I'm pleased that we've been able to resolve our prior dispute, and I'm excited about the opportunity to work together collaboratively.'

"AOL's chief executive, Richard Parsons, added that he welcomed 'a more productive relationship with Microsoft,' and that the agreement to collaborate on digital media 'marks an important step forward in better serving consumers and protecting the interests of all content businesses.'"

As if this had one thing to do with "better serving consumers". He told the truth about it being about "protecting the interests of all content businesses."

Around that same time, Darl started telling us that he wanted to be like the RIAA and then Warner Bros. became a SCO customer in September, and the rest, as they say, is history. They started talking about suing the pants off Linux users using the DMCA next. Remember this story from eWeek?

"On Tuesday McBride said that SCO and its attorneys, led by David Boies, managing partner of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP of Armonk, N.Y., will be basing at least part of any case on provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that covers software copyrights.

"'Now we're going to the other side of the playing field and opening it up the part that has to do with copyright inside of Linux,' McBride said. 'We're not going to go out and sue a thousand companies on day one. We'll start off, we'll get a domino and we'll go from there.'"

The RIAA's reported the SCO story. They liked Darl's "Greed is good and it's Constitutional too" open letter, as I call it, while the rest of the world laughed:

"The ongoing legal challenge posed by SCO to the world Linux community (link) continued to make headlines — SCO maintains that Linux versions infringe its copyright on Unix. SCO CEO Darl McBride posted a Dec. 4 letter on his company's Web site praising the DMCA while attacking open source licensing as unconstitutional. McBride said, 'In the past 20 years, the Free Software Foundation and others in the open source software movement have set out to actively and intentionally undermine the U.S. and European systems of copyrights and patents.'"

So the attack on the GPL fits into a context. And it is becoming more and more clear what that context is and who the players really are. It just gives me the willies to hear about the "other matters" in this new pact, because when the two companies that paid SCO the "license" money that ended up funding the IBM lawsuit, not to mention Microsoft's drumming up BayStar money for SCO, get together, it's not a good sign for GNU/Linux. I hope the Public Patent Foundation is getting plenty of donations. I was about to tell you that WalMart's online store is now shipping computers with Sun's Java Desktop Linux preinstalled for about $300, and in fact, I was going to buy one, but I just changed my mind.

More and more, it seems that the entertainment content businesses, including Microsoft, want to make sure no culture can be offered anywhere in the world by anyone except them and only by means of their one-way paid pipeline. They can't achieve that goal without killing free/open software. Of course, they also would have to shut down the openness of the internet. I begin to suspect they may hypocritically use "security" concerns to do so, and the Wall Street Journal [sub req'd] reports they are already asking the goverment to establish standards for security in software:

"In a surprise shift, leading software companies acknowledge in a report to the Bush administration that government might need to force the U.S. technology industry to improve the security of America's computer networks.

"The companies, including Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Computer Associates International Inc. (CA), said the Homeland Security Department 'should examine whether tailored government action is necessary' to compel improvements in the design of computer software.

"The 250-page report containing that recommendation and dozens more was being released Thursday. . . .

"The report was put together by experts who included representatives from the Defense Department, National Security Agency, technology companies and universities. The group was organized by executives at Microsoft and Computer Associates."

The Business Software Alliance is the secretariat for the task force, according to the Executive Summary [PDF], and you know how much *they* love GNU/Linux. One of the report's suggestions for what they call a National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace is a certification process for programmers:

"Create Software Security Certification Accreditation Program. Support the creation of a certification and accreditation program for increasing security in software development."

You can get the full report from this page. You might also like to take a look at this story, also in the Register, which seems apropos in the context of the settlement, about testimony before the FCC on revisions being considered to the 1996 Telecommunications Act and FCC regulations. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is quoted saying that entrenched interests are trying to close off the internet for their own advantage, and I personally suspect that the SCO attack on Linux is part of that bigger picture:

"'Entrenched interests are already jockeying to constrain the openness that has been the Internet's defining hallmark, and they are lobbying the FCC to aid and abet them,' Copps declared.

"'They claim all they are advocating is a deregulated environment where the market can reign supreme. But in reality, they are seeking government help to allow a few companies to turn the Internet from a place of completion and innovation, into an oligopoly. Power over the Internet would then reside with the network owners, who could use choke-point power to constrain consumer choices, limit sources of news and information and entertainment, undermine competitors, and quash disruptive new technologies.'"

Ballmer says that the Sun settlement first began to be discussed a year ago. Let's see. What was happening a year ago? Well, if we reread SCO's quarterly SEC filing for the quarter ending April 2003, we find that a year ago is when Sun and MS bought licenses from SCO and SCO filed its lawsuit against IBM. And in March a year ago, SCO sued IBM, while Ballmer and McNealy had a round of golf and discussed how to work together. What a coincidence.


MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime" | 393 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here Please
Authored by: PJ on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:33 AM EST
Please record my mistakes for posterity here, so I can find them quickly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:40 AM EST
Well :) The lines are drawn now. It's IBM and Novell and the open-source
community on one side, vs. the axis of evil (Sun and Microsoft) on the other.

I want to live in a world that doesn't *need* Microsoft.

I want to live in a world where they either compete on the merits of their
products, or go bankrupt.

The EU fined them >$600 M and here's another $2B gone to enhance shareholder
value.. just 40 billion to go! *sigh*

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: bobn on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:45 AM EST
You remember ... Mr. Jonathan "We have no Linux strategy" Schwartz?

Actually they do have a linux plan - they will ignore it while it squashes them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Mozilla cut loose
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:50 AM EST
Great reminder of the Warner Bros. thing. I had forgotten that. Although the
RIAA news summary seems pretty fair

But maybe it's good to remember that AOL/TW also cut the Mozilla team loose.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:54 AM EST
this will sound like a /. post, but ...

don't buy products and services from companies that you don't believe in.
don't buy microsoft products, instead champion the use of free software on a
project where an MS solution is incumbent but could be displaced.
don't buy albums (sorry, CDs) produced by the major labels.
don't buy DVDs produced by the major studios.

incremental changes, over time, aggregated over thousands, then tens of
thousands, then hundreds of thousands will have an effect.

most importantly, don't present yourself as being 'extreme' and overly excited
about this, keep the attitude of this being a rational decision where you feel
that you had no choice. don't let the spin doctor types radicalize this

try to separate fact from opinion and allow others to decide for themselves.

and don't give up on Sun entirely, quite yet.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Xenographic on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:00 AM EST
So, it would seem that the Microsoft strategy is to use its massive cash
reserves to buy-off competitors (Apple, Sun, etc.) in whatever way necessary,
and reach various strategic agreements with them to ensure that while their
competitors continue to exist (good for avoiding anti-trust regulators), their
competitors aren't able to actually threaten Microsoft's monopoly position on
anything (e.g. the agreement with AOL about IE keeps Microsoft from losing
significant ground to Netscape/Mozilla).

Pity, too. Some clearly superior products like Mozilla have to play second
fiddle to IE, which by all rights should not be allowed on the internet, since
there have been regularly occuring vulnerabilities in it which could be used
destroy the files on one's computer, or even put to more malicious ends.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:02 AM EST
The Funny thing is..

GNU/Linux keeps on going and going and going. Even if I never seen the name
GNU/LINUX, it would continue to greater hights.

GNU/LINUX will allways have the best advantage over Microsoft and Bill Gates.

I think Bill Gates should just get on with his job and do some real work for a
change, because his Windows code is 4 -8 years old allready.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Sun "Java Desktop System"
Authored by: javajedi on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:09 AM EST
I am sitting here at my desk, holding in my hands a live demo bootable CD of the "Java Desktop System". It is obvious to a linux user that it is heavily based on a Suse distro. On the back of the package it says... "This demo cd is built on technology from

All in all it seems to be a fairly well put together distro with one VERY MAJOR problem in my book...

Absolutely nowhere on the cover or sleeve or on the cd itself does it mention Linux, not once, not in any way shape or form save the obscure reference to morphix.

If I were a PHB I would not even have a clue that this was linux based. Ashamed of the origins of the software Sun?

I must admit that up to now I have been a fan of Sun's java development environment, in fact I make a good living as a Senior java developer and architect with a major telecommunications firm, but this sickens me, the whole thing, the deals with Microsoft and as luck would have it my receiving this demo cd on the same day!

The fine print on the back mentions that the distribution may include materials developed by third parties. Portions may be derived from BSD systems ... not a single mention of the fact that it is LINUX based anywhere on the packaging.

I'm sorry folks, I know I have said that several times during this post but really now, how should I take this. Oh and by the way, not a single mention of the GPL anywhere on the packaging either!

The Matrix is real... but i'm only visiting...

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: JustFree on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:20 AM EST
When Sun developed JAVA it was veiwed as a good thing. Java was designed as
programming language to was platform independent. This when contary to
Microsofts position. Microsoft would modify programming languages that were
platform independent so that they would work exclusively under Microsoft Windows
Operating System.

Whether Microsoft caught the wave of the personal computer revolution or ignited
it is up for debate. The fact is that Microsoft has been a powerful company for
personal compters. For many of us computers are our passion from using it for
our everyday lives to writing programs. That is what were love. Many of us have
an independent minds, and view companies such as Microsoft as the enemy. Not
with envy, but with fustration.

With Sun it is very confusing. They have their own version of Linux, but they
have made a settlement with Microsoft. Of all the flavours of UNIX, Solar seem
to be the most popular (this is my personnal opinion). It could just be that Sun
Microsystems has won a case against Microsoft and decide to call it quits with
the legal wars with Microsoft. Lawyers are expensive, and is not a good way of
running a company (Hint: SCOG).

as in free speech get it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Will Sun pull an 'SCO' with OpenOffice?
Authored by: davidbakody on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:40 AM EST
I've always wondered if Sun might one day try to use OpenOffice as a mechanism
to eventually coerce StarOffice licenses from large deployments of OpenOffice
users using an SCO-like strategy. This strategy could also work with companies
that redistribute open-office like Red Hat, SuSE, etc, Sun claiming the same
type of false "IP" infringment that SCO is claiming with respect to
the Linux kernel.

Sun is certainly a considerable threat to our liberty and we would be wise to
avoid the this unholy trinity (Microsoft, SCO and Sun).

I find it interesting that when Sun bought a license from SCO the tinfoil hats
didn't come out as fast as they did when Microsoft bought one. Sun has been a
UNIX company and licensee from day-1, and in light of this I'd sure like to know
what exactly they needed to license from a litigation company like SCO? How
much more "UNIX" licensing did Sun need that wasn't applicable to the
previous 20 years.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun will set
Authored by: kawabago on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:42 AM EST
Don't worry. Now that Sun has gone over to the dark side their technology will
be stolen by Microsoft and they will be cast onto the slag heap of companies
that trusted Bill Gates.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Sun will set - Authored by: PJ on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:31 AM EST
  • Sun will set - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 08:35 AM EST
  • Sun will set - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 10:00 AM EST
  • Sun will set - Authored by: Jude on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 06:51 PM EST
MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:45 AM EST

Initially, I toyed with the idea of trying out the Java Desktop System but SUN's constant flip-flop and inability to make up its mind as to whether it was an "Open Source Friend" or an "Open Source Enemy" made it difficult to decide whether I really wanted anything to do with them.

They have a serious problem engendering trust (an understatement of epic proportions to be sure).

Now that more and more details of their behind-the-scenes dealings with MS and SCO are coming out, I've made my decision.

I've chosen Novell's SuSE 9.1 and it can't get here fast enough.

[ Reply to This | # ]

My, my, but this "Software Lifecycle" piece is a crock
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:52 AM EST

It seems to me this is an incredible diversionary effort

It takes time to think about security, and if you take time, you're not first to market. It's not so much that the world doesn't know how to do security as it is that the time pressures of the competitive marketplace don't allow for it. Microsoft certainly understands the importance of being first to market.

The report addresses this problem with such bold concepts as "software producers should adopt practices for developing secure software." Right. And they will be last to market, with Microsoft and it's incredibly insecure software their first, and all of those nice secure guys there last, with 0% market share, and out of business. The penalties for being insecure (none) are simply not commensurate with the penalties for being late to market (out of business), and if they're not made commensurate, we are going to continue to have the status quo. The liability of being insecure, and causing incredible cost to the computing community at large, have so far been maintained at zero by our ever vigilant lawmakers and the wonders of commercial software's no-liability shrink wrap licenses.

Having not addressed that problem in the slightest, it seems to me that the report is not only 100% worthless, it's a net negative, since it distracts from the real issues involved.

Wally Bass

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Suspicious Regime"
Authored by: webster on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:56 AM EST
So far many suspicions about MS involvement have been cast here. Certainly they
are involved in the SCO financing scheme, if not the SCO scheme itself. This
latest development puts them in cahoots with Sun. So they have been talking for
a year and they both bought licenses from SCO? As if they both needed Unix code
from SCO. Sure they both wanted to support SCO FUD. But why would they do
something so blatant as purchase useless licenses? [Doffing the tin Derby]

To distract or cover up something more extensive and sinister? Like a financing
scheme? Like a fictitious FUD campaign? To retard the uptake of Linux which is
bleeding Sun more than Microsoft? To disguise indirect contributions? Did Sun
know the $2 billion settlement was on the way when they purchased their SCO
license? You can make a lot of friends and make them do most anything for two
billion. Sun had the goods on MS so they settled in the spirit of using each
other---apparently against Linux.

What has IBM discovered so far? They'll never tell unless they file something
someday adding MS to the caption. Sun...?


[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun: Unholy Axis
Authored by: jkondis on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:01 AM EST
This on-topic story (MS & Sun) appeared while I was writing this for another thread (where it was off-topic). Instead of reposting, I'll link to it here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:06 AM EST
Well, we know that the best way to defend yourself is to attack. All this news
shows is that both MS and Sun have been weakened enough, so they no longer can
survive separately. Just another indication of how strong GNU/Linux is. And, of
course, that "freedom is worth fighting for".

Meanwhile, IBM and Novell should fund the GNU project, to build a Free
implementation of JVM and/or .NET. Just in case somebody is not aware, here are
two projects that do exactly this --- create a Free/Libre version of the .NET
platform: and Interestinly, the
second one is sponsored by Novell.
Somebody may also need to take care of, should Sun give up on it.
(Not very likely, though).

No doubt, Sun will lose its friendly public image fairly soon. But who would be
sympathetic to them?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Openness, Linux and Apache
Authored by: UrsaMinor on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:33 AM EST
"... Of course, they also would have to shut down the openness of the
We talk a lot about open source and Linux and that's fine. I have seven
computers at home running Linux. I love it.

BUT... I shiver when I think: "What if the Apache project didn't exist?
What if Microsoft Internet Information Services (MS IIS) ruled the

According to MS IIS would have won if it wasn't for Apache.
Think about what the Internet would be like today if Apache wasn't here.

Support Apache, support Stallman.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:41 AM EST
Maybe this is why Sun didn't want to "open up" Java like IBM

[ Reply to This | # ]

Windows on SPARC?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:54 AM EST
If Windows could run on SPARC, might Sun get better hardware sales?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thinking ahead about the alternative
Authored by: fb on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:59 AM EST

For a long time there have been quiet ruminations about how, for one reason or another, the internet as we know it would come to a grinding halt. Fot those who cared, in its place might spring up collectively operated alternative networks based on wireless technology.

This scenario becomes less far-fetched with the advent of usable software-defined radio technology, where the cost of entry and participation is cut drastically by taking much of the required processing technology out of the physical network infrastructure and putting it into individual users' computers.

In essence, this would amount to replacing a hobbled existing internet infrastructure with an alternative more completely under the control of the users. It's not as outlandish as it sounds.

The FCC is currently considering measures that would make such a development effectively impossible in the US, by making the enabling hardware (high-speed D/A and A/D converters) unavailable to ordinary users.

Maybe this -- the total monopolization of communications and the legal destruction of an alternative -- all adds up still to a tinfoil-hat scenario, but it gets a little less fantastic every day.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun & sco ?
Authored by: icebarron on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 03:20 AM EST
We are missing one more player in the big picture. Very shortly they will make
themselves known. Then the IP warriors will make their play. The one problem
they are still oblivious to is about to pull the rug out from under their feet
just as they smell blood...I love a good soap opera, I hope everyone has a
chance to see it unfold...

"PS take a good long look at identity authentication on so called
heterogonous will notice this referenced in multiple press
releases which is not just referenced, but is touted in their call for
government intervention for securities sake...Me thinks there is a pattern


It's not line for's in structures and sequence

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: grayhawk on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 03:23 AM EST
I don't think there is a thing to worry about with respect to Sun Microsoft or
SCO. GNU/Linux and Open Source is a world wide phenomenon that no single entity
will be able to squash. They may screw up the American consumer and American
Corporations, however the market is no longer American nor local, it is a world
market. They can't win on the world stage much as they think they can. American
corporations don't control the world and never will for there are plenty of
competitors who can and will win world market shares using better and cheaper
technology which Open Source is. IBM understands this, Novell understands this
but SCO, Sun and Microsoft don't.

Also foreign countries have their own laws governing copyrights, patents etc.
which are not the same nor interpreted the same way as they are in the states.
Those countries will not accept the terms of the likes of Microsoft, the DMCA,
the RIAA, SCO or anyone else. When you play in someone elses sandbox you play
by their rules or loose. So Open Source will continue to thrive, grow and
flurish with or without the American market and regardless what MS, SCO or Sun
do in the states.

Lets face it Open Source is here to stay and it only boils down to use it and
become competitive on the world stage or use proprietary and loose the
competitive edge being only marginally successful in your own back yard. We are
competing against countries who can produce product with much lower costs such
as labour. American companies need to reduce overhead and MIS to date has been
nothing more than a money sucking pit with no ROI because of the likes of
Microsoft. It is time to control the MIS costs and it can't be done with M$,
SCO or SUN products. Open Source is what will reduce the costs and truly offer
an ROI.

Software also has become a commodity and it no longer is the means by which to
make serious money, service is. After all how much more can you change on a
word processing package to warrent an upgrade? The SCO's of the world have and
are becoming the white elephant. Adapt or die and SCO isn't adapting, they are
trying to stop a behemoth with a fly swatter. I wish them luck NOT!

It is these companies (SCO et al) that will damage the American economy and cost
many jobs because unless the American manufacturing, distribution and service
companies can use the best and most economical tools unfettered they won't be
able to compete on the world stage. Open Source will always be more economical
to use than proprietary.

All ships are safe in a harbour but that is not where they were meant to be.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS, Sun vs Linux::Axis vs Alllies; Java in peril
Authored by: rjamestaylor on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 03:27 AM EST
While shocking to some it is as easy to understand as Nazi Germany and Stalinist
USSR making a pact and invading Poland; the two great enemies whose rhetoric
inflamed on against the other on many points, except totalitarian control
(hmmm...) recognized the West as the threat to their dominions.

Oh, BTW, to continue the analogy of WWII SCOX is Vichy France (think about it).

IBM tried to woo Sun to join Eclipse (and offered to change the obvious anti-Sun
moniker if they did) and to Open Source Java, but Sun refused. On this point I'd
like to sound a warning:

Those who think it doesn't matter that Java isn't truly Open Source and who
think it important for the technology's future to be owned as proprietary
technology by a single company need to realize that Java itself may be in peril
-- if Sun loses motivation or is swayed to change course and
".NET-ize" Java, the Java community can do nothing. Sun can take its
ball and go home (to Bellvue, where all Redmond employees sleep).

This is precisely why Linus was right about the matter of trust. With Open
Source you can trust the project leader up to the point you don't and overthrow
her. With proprietary software -- even if it's shared source or community
process enriched -- if the rights holder quits the game there is no ball left
for the rest to play with.

SCO delenda est! Salt their fields!

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Hygrocybe on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 03:28 AM EST
Allow me to predict (dangerously no doubt and probably there are lots of people
who will delight in pointing out my errors...but it's interesting to do so):
Sun will now firmly move into proprietary closed source mode and progressively
align further with Microsoft but will not be taken over by the Vole; Java will
not be released into Open Source and will eventually be replaced by a different
software system in Open Source; Linux will slowly replace the more expensive
Solaris Unix systems; Sun will slowly but acrimoniously dwindle and will either
eventually disappear or just become another company selling hardware that runs
Microsoft systems; just as Microsoft has planned and hoped...... and it has only
cost $2 billion out of the $53 billion chest.

This has been a very cheap victory for Bill Gates' Company which completely
avoids all those nasty little problems with antitrust and monopoly. Even if you
loathe all that Redmond stands for, you have to admire their carefully
choreographed movements - they are so effective. And let's face it: money vs
ethics; Sun has made its choice. I could be wrong...I hope I am...... but I
think Sun has now thrown away its chance of becoming a large player in the next
generation of software.

Blackbutt, Australia

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 04:08 AM EST
You're absolutely right about this, and the Open Source community hasn't woken up to the danger.

Microsoft needs Sun Microsystems to survive for these reasons:

  • It wants to be able to point to a surviving "competitor" when its monopoly practices are challenged in court
  • It wants to be able to say it has opened the specs of its protocols to "competitors" (for a fee of course, locking out Open Source)
  • If Sun went under, most Sun customers would migrate to Linux, strengthening Linux, making it harder for MS to crush Linux
  • Microsoft also gets access to some Sun patents. One day, Microsoft will mount a patent-based legal attack on Linux. The more patents it has at that time, the more effective this will be.

Open-source advocates who aren't scared of Microsoft are living in a fantasy world. Bill Gates is an extremely clever man, and he has a history of not making a final "attack" until he's well prepared and sure to win. Breaking the law (and paying fines when it's too late to matter) is just part of the strategy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun has aped M$ for over a decade
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 04:13 AM EST
Those of us of a certain age will remember Sun Microsystems in the 1980s. They
supplied an interesting but flawed platform, which was, above all,
developer-friendly. And they had a lot of bright people in-house. Sun was a
hotbed of innovation. Much of their 1980s work is still with us.

Then in the early 90s came Solaris 2. They unbundled the C compiler (not itself
any good, but served to bootstrap gcc) and other developer-necessities. Sun's
commercial IDE that replaced it was deeply developer-unfriendly and annoying,
and it became apparent that Sun was now controlled by Suits who were looking at
challenging M$.

Developer community? We moved to Linux! A fortunate coincidence for someone.
Maybe for Linus himself, that his new kernel came out just as the previous
developer playground was disappearing.

In the mid-90s, JAVA looked like Sun's second attempt to take on M$. It was
better thought through, attacking by creating a new niche rather than head-on
where Redmond was strongest. But still it wore a Suit.

[ Reply to This | # ]

it's not security they will use, it's spam
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 04:48 AM EST
normal people don't really care about security (and pushing the security issue
runs the risk of people asking why it's microsoft software that keeps being the

spam is something that annoys everyone, no matter what OS they use and many
people are willing to sacrafice just about anything to eliminate the spam

[ Reply to This | # ]

Semi OT: M$ think Linux is worse than AIDS?
Authored by: jmc on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 05:03 AM EST

There was an interesting item on the BBC Breakfast radio "Today" prog this morning in which a medical professor working in third world medicine contrasted the amounts spent by Sir Bill in fighting AIDS and in fighting Linux.

If you want to hear it, it's here. The bit about Linux was near the beginning but the rest of the item is worth listening to.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Java Desktop System
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 05:21 AM EST
Sun doesn't seem to know what it's doing. Right now, it has by far the biggest
desktop Linux presence -- 500,000 (and counting) JDS (ie Sun-branded SUSE)
systems in China, new deals to sell JDS at Walmart, and more.

This has ENORMOUS potential, and if Sun's just going to get cosy with Microsoft
now, they'll shatter their chances in the growing Linux desktop market. Heaven
knows what they're thinking.

Of course, perhaps we're being too cynical. Sun DID give us a whole open-source
office suite to work with and improve, and has put money into other areas of OSS
development (eg GNOME). I just wish they'd finally sort out whether or not
they're in favour of OSS and Linux.

You've got to hand it to IBM. They said they were going to get behind Linux, and
they did. BIG style. A billion dollars into research, development and sales, and
porting Linux to all their hardware.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun Java Desktop - Guess what it runs on ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 05:26 AM EST
Yep, it's SuSE Linux with a bunch of Ximian stuff :-)

It will be interesting to see how Sun/Novell get along now, and if there is room
for Sun to switch to another distro, maybe Red Hat ?

It looks like Microsoft didn't need to bring out a Linux distro after all. They
just used Sun to do this for them, and now I predict the two companies will get
even closer (takeover anyone ?). Who knows, maybe Sun will sell their Java
Desktop business to MS and go back to making high end 64-bit hardware to run
Longhorn on instead.

There are certainly some long term strategy moves being played out here...I
wonder who will win ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Patent Regime" M$ Sun Scog
Authored by: borneo on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 05:32 AM EST
Until now, we have thinks that SCOG has no case and they will loose. But now, I
believe they will win either way.
And may be Sun will buy Scog with Microsoft Money !
Look : Novell win and then we know who owns the copyrights in Unix that may be
put freely into Linux, IBM wins and then we get a well known weatlhy compagny
that owns AIX copyrights and had put them freely into Linux.
And now come the strategy of the RIAA: They tried to sue end users, that give
them few money and people are still sharing. So they sue the autors of the
software but some Judge don't agree.
So they need some kind of software that will accept to read only compliant data
to DRM AS ADOBE ACROBAT 6.1 and next, M$ media player, and be sure Real player.
And data need to be readable only by compliant software.
For example new drivers for graphics cards will stop working if you play a game
with no valid rights to use it.
With the agreement, Sun SCOG and M$ need nothing more to impose such compliants
"Universal" drivers to DRM.
So you may read an E-mail only if the senders give you the rights to do so with
a compliant software. And if a free software can read the data ? What will
happend next ? There will be responsible and wheatly compagny thats holds
copyrights and don't bother to restrict their usage to compliant software to DRM
So IBM and Novell, soon or later will have to come to the general agreement.
That's the goal !

There must be a way to make people pay for free water and free air.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: drh on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 06:13 AM EST
The way I read this is that the line has been drawn. You
are either Open-source(Linux) or Closed-source(Microsoft),
there is no in between. Companies are now falling into one
camp or the other to decide not who will win, but who will
profit. (Personally I think there is a middle area that
will eventually win out, but...)

Sun was backed into a corner, their business has not been
as good as they need it to be, they are bleeding money,
and they had no good path for the future. I believe they
looked at how the industry was going to shape up, and have
made their decision to go Closed-source.

They could have stayed with the Open-source IBM/Novell
alliance and try to provide an alternative to Microsoft
products. What they have done is provide a compatible
system to Microsoft. Money wise, in the short term, this
is going to help them. But it also means having to live
with an 800 pound gorilla on your back, Microsoft. I
believe they will induce customers with the promise of
full compatibility with existing Microsoft installations.

Between this deal and the expected Chinese sale, Sun has
within a month gone from a questionable future to a well
invested one, their shareholders must be real happy for
this. Sun stock might just start to become appealing

With this deal, Microsoft will obtain use of Sun's
technology, but they cannot directly attack Open-source.
They can have Sun do it, but I don't think this is what
they are after. They want to fold that technology into
Windows to say "We are now better than they (Linux) are,
and we have the code to prove it!". This is kind of like
an old car company advertisement that claimed they had
"out Japanesed the Japanese" by building their cars in the
same plant alongside a "competitor". What you really ended
up with was a Japanese car with an American logo on it,
and nothing more.

Just another day...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun is a reacter, as is m$
Authored by: Epiphany on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 07:01 AM EST
but that does not make their alliance any less dangerous.

Neither of them do things proactively, tech-wise - they are lumbering giants, so to speak, and not nearly as nimble as the multitude of smaller companies which they know are The Threat.

This does not hurt m$, as they catch up via "embrace and extend".

Sun, like SCO, has been getting pummeled by Linux, and the best they can do is the lame-o Java Desktop, a reiteration of an idea that other Linux companies have been working on for several years ("make Linux easy for newbies" - ie Xandros, SuSe, et al). Now they have gotten their teeth kicked in by the 600-lb gorilla that they have hated for years, and, as a result, climbed into bed with it out of some odd Stockholm Syndrome-like compulsion.

I haven't liked Sun for much except their Star Office move, because their mouthpiece will say one thing while the hands are doing another. I think that a Sun/m$ alliance is an unholy matrimony, and that, post-SCO, the greatest threat to the continued flourishing of Linux and F/OSS will come from this quarter.

Sun just got paid $2B to become m$ latest FUD tool.


Good luck to them, I have a feeling that they will see the day that they regret this decision. They could have continued to fight, and they would have been better off not having sold their soul.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Who wins IS important
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 07:14 AM EST
I noticed some have posted that this is basically a
question of who will win, whether open or closed solution
will carry the day, and what is at stake is mearly how
profits and commercial success will be divided between the
two groups. Hence, the question of who will win in this
division between proprietary and free companies is not that
important to some.

I disagree. The question of who will win is VERY
important. What will be decided will be whether we have a
society where only large companies are permitted to create
software and content, where individuals have very limited
rights and freedom to use information and perhaps no rights
whatsoever to produce and distribute information on their
own, or one that is open both commercially and socially to
all citizens on a fair and equal basis.

The U.S. was orignally successful in part because at a time
when powerful elites in many (European) nations used laws
of enclosure to prevent ordinary citizens from forming
businesses, it was possible to do so here. How ironic,
then, that companies like Microsoft would wish to make the
U.S. much more like the places many of our ancestors
originally choose to leave. I do not see this as a
technical question of who will have the most profits, but
whether as a nation we will continue to be a free society
or not. This has to be for the only way that it will be
possible in the long run for Microsoft, other proprietary
software vendors, and entertainment cartels, to preserve
their existing business models against the rising tide of
free software and information freedom is to take away
everyone else's freedom. To do any less they will in the
end loose. Hence for them to win requires EVERYONE else to

[ Reply to This | # ]

And in March a year ago, SCO sued IBM, while Ballmer and McNealy had a round of golf and discuss
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 07:33 AM EST
And in March a year ago, SCO sued IBM, while Ballmer and McNealy had a round of
golf and discuss...

Discuss WHAT? Notice that they are not saying what exactly was discussed!

AND - No e-mails, transcripts, or formal records of conversations (for the
Justice Department to be interested in, as documentation) ever shows up from
golf courses or ski lift conversations. So - any anti-competative posturing
obviously was not ever a part of any past conversation between these two!

Not ever. The irony of the timing, that PJ points out, where the golf game,
investment in SCO, etc all seem to nicely show up in the timeline... it all to
scary to think about.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dark Side Of The Sun
Authored by: Galik on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 07:54 AM EST
I think Sun has payed the price of hesitating for far too long on Open Source
and Linux. I suspect Sun here is basically just saving its business. Shame. They
should've acted sooner and better. Now they are 'fallen prey' to The Dark Side.

Seems similar to M$ paying off Apple - Keeps Apple in busness to fend off
monopoly problems in the desktop arena. Now doing the same with Sun in the
server arena.

Sun has finaly shown it's colours. I'm sure many in Sun genuinely rooted for
open source. I'm sure many still will (less a couple of thousand who will loose
their jobs). But Sun has decided that Open Source (or at least GPL - style Open
Source) is it's enemy.

It will be interesting to see how Open Source support from Sun plays out now.
They recently said that they hadn't closed the door on open sourcing Java. I
suspect that was just a bit of an orange kipper.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 07:55 AM EST
$ 2 billion [ rounded up to the accuracy I, as a professional meteorologist,
prefer ] ...

Hmm, that's about 1.5 quarter of loss at SUN. I hope it helps (we are a SUN

Toon Moene (GNU Fortran maintainer and physicist at large)

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Mr. Sun Customer - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:54 PM EST
Off Thread - interesting comment on BG's "hardware will be free" speech
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 08:01 AM EST
And on ZDNet of all places

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: ine on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 08:15 AM EST
SCO was the first dinosaur to say: "I am a dinosaur. I can't compete with
this new software. I must extinguish myself." The death throes in the tar
pit have been long and painful to watch, but they are gradually sinking to the
bottom - it's up to their lower lip.....

Now it seems like SUN is volunteering itself to be Dinosaur Number Two.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 08:41 AM EST
Personally, I like the idea of Java and .Net being interoperable. The retoric
between the Java and .Net hype/sales pitches was and is still a bit too strong
for my tastes. I have no objection to Java running on Windows; I do have an
objection to Java not running on Linux however. I hope SUN continues to support
Java/J2EE on Linux - and it would be good for their long-term business as well.

IBM has contracts with both SUN and Microsoft (believe it or not) and IBM
developer(works) developed 90 % of the code behind Java! In fact, other than
Java 1.5 JRE, I generally find that the IBM JRE is faster. However, SUN always
gains the benefit from IBM's code on the next release.

As a developer, I would be very diappointed if SUN/Java goes to closed-source or
only supports a limitied set of platforms. Every time a Windows server or OS
upgrade occurs, it is difficult to reinstall the application (and guarantee that
it works). This is the REAL difference between the Windows OS and Java (at
least for me) - it is easy to install an application, easy to upgrade an
application and (especially) easy to move an application.

I am not going to argue which OS is best. My greatest interest is in application
code (inhouse, open-source, proprietary) (free, shareware or costly) being easy
to support.

I find that Java has a higher tendency to run on multiple types of hardware than
any other software environment. And mainframes still have greater stability than
most if not all Windows servers. Having little experience with Linux on the
Enterprise, I do not know about that - although I am interested in having Linux
on our mainframe.

IBM still provides a Java runtime environment which is not a SUN runtime (if
absolutely necessary) - and I suspect/hope that that will continue.
I am uncomfortable with the Microsoft platform due to lack of choice and
OS/application migration issues. You are at the mercy of (Microsofts) vendor
lockin. And that basically only on ONE hardware platform. We need the
flexibility of being able to move code from one box/platform to another easily.
At least with Linux, (and perhaps even Unix) I have a choice of vendors to get
it from. With Java, I have a choice of OS, vendor and hardware. With Microsoft,
I have no choice.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Couple of Ideas for Comment
Authored by: banjopaterson on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 08:50 AM EST
1. If Microsoft can do C# as a java pretender - can the open source community
do an open source java look-alike (maybe call it Earl Grey)?

2. The internet is much bigger than the USA - regardless of what people in the
White House think. I can really see China or Japan or India giving up the
internet to US control (and already we are talking 30% [? more?] of the world's
population) - not.

[ Reply to This | # ]

If Sun was to buy Red Hat
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 08:54 AM EST
The $2 billion that Microsoft is paying Sun is equivalent to about half the
market capitalisation of Red Hat. If Sun were to buy Red Hat, with the help of
a lot of cash from Microsoft, Sun could then do to Red Hat what AOL did to

[ Reply to This | # ]

An insider's view
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 09:29 AM EST
I would like to offer some comments on this discussion about the MS/SUN deal. I
am currently a Sun employee. I work mainly as a developer, so I'm not very high
on the totem pole here, but I do know a few people a little further up from me,
and I'd like to offer my observations.

On a personal level, I have problems with this deal with MS. Not being a lover
of MS myself (my home is completely RH Linux), I don't care for Sun being this
cozy with them.

Now, that said, I'd like to make some comments on the motivation behind this

There are two reasons why Sun did this deal. The first is obvious: Sun needed a
cash infusion and their court case against MS was being dragged out with no
obvious end in sight. Rather than spend money on continued litigation, Sun chose
to cut its losses and settle. Again, personally, I would have liked to have seen
Sun obtain this funding in another way.

The second reason was stated in a few of the news stories on this deal but has
largely been rejected as a lie by the F/OSS community: Sun is claiming that they
have customers asking for interoperability between Sun and MS products and are
tired of the loud anti-MS rhetoric. Folks, this is absolutely true. I have
personally heard the voice of a few of Sun's customers (who I cannot name here,
as I do not know what kind of confidentiality agreements there are). Not that
these customers are necessarily MS-lovers, but they have to deal with MS shops,
or have MS shops themselves, or have to interact with other companies that use
MS software and are leery of Scott's attitude on the matter.

Now, granted, this is not the entirety of the Sun customer base that needs this,
or even a majority. But where Sun has been attempting to remake itself to
compete better (and having worked at Sun for some time now and I can tell you
that this is an ongoing task), they are trying hard to listen to their customers
more. New customers may not care as much about dealing with MS, but older
established customers do. And where Sun is in this business to make money, just
like any other company, they have to be sensitive to their customer's needs.

Finally, I would like to address the charge that "the Linux people at Sun
will get their walking papers first". While conducting a layoff is an
involved process that takes time due to legal considerations, there is no
evidence that this is going to happen. Naturally, I cannot predict the future,
but the sense that I am getting is this is not true. A lot of time and effort
went into the JDS, so to simply up and fire the whole Linux team makes little
sense. People seem to be quick to state that since a deal was done with MS, this
instantly means that MS will start dictating internal policy at Sun. Nothing in
the deal states this, nor are any payments from MS contingent on Sun doing
anything more specific than agreeing to license certain techs from MS.

While this post may sound like I'm trying to defend Sun, I'm really not. As I
said before, I wish things had been done differently, and for all I know, there
could be more unpalatable changes down the road. I just want to try to clarify
the facts as they stand now before people starting going a little too overboard
with the conspiracy theories. This deal was made to benefit Sun and not to screw
over Linux or F/OSS. As other posters have said, Linux and F/OSS are not owned
by anyone, so whatever MS and Sun choose to do, it is unlikely to affect Linux
or F/OSS. Now, I cannot speak for MS's motivations; they may see it differently,
but I can state what I perceive as Sun's motivation.

As for me, I'm going to keep a close eye on things. I like working at Sun
because the work I do is interesting, it makes a difference, and I get to work
with a large number of very talented individuals. I hope to be able to continue
working here, but that will largely depend on how far into the MS camp Sun goes.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: GPL and doctrine of first sale
Authored by: Khym Chanur on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 09:43 AM EST
In this message on the Yahoo! SCOX financial board, someone claims that the doctrine of first sale and the doctrine of copyright misuse bar the "viral" parts of the GPL, such as "GPL incompatibility" and "combined works". Could someone explain what this person is saying? It doesn't quite make sense to me.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft makes billions (millions)?
Authored by: JustFree on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 09:53 AM EST
“But hey, with every day delay, MS makes millions, so it pays to delay.”

If Microsoft has it their way they will wait longer than 10 years. There is an important article that Groklawers and PJ should read. I am unaware if this has already be read, posted or discussed. It is an article about Bill Gates belief that hardware will be almost free. What do you think about Gates belief relating to software (not hardware)?

Bill Gates: Hardware to be nearly free in 10 years

But hey I may just be wrong.

as in free speech get it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

IT-IP Wars are starting
Authored by: eamacnaghten on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 10:27 AM EST
What we are seeing are the first shots fired in what will probably go down in
history as the IT IP wars.

The game play is simple - there are those who wish to control information in
such a way that they can collect a tax from it - the best example of this being
Microsoft - and there are those who wish to provide information technology and
produce income without having to pay this tax, the example of this being the
Free/Open software movement (including me) and somewhat surprisingly IBM.

The outcome of the war will decide how Information Technology will be used and
supplied to the world - and possibly how wealth is distributed - the ultimate
goal for the proprietory people will be that the end user will have to pay every
time they use a word processor, but not for the machine or the software (which
the proprietory guys will own), and the goal of the Open/Free guys is that the
end user will not need to pay anything for the software (or hardware, for that
fact) - but sufficient will pay support to a consultant or company to manage
(and specialize) the computers and software to fit the needs.

There is no doubt in my mind that the latter of these two will be the far more
beneficial one to the world in general, but it does mean the end to the
Proprietory Software Mass Market (ie - Microsoft). Microsoft - and the rest -
are WELL aware of this and FULLY understand it. It is in their interest that as
few people as possible do though.

Do not think that the companies on the Open/Free software side are in it to be
nice. They are in it for the money, and do not fancy being controlled. Many
are fairweather friends, and will move to the other side if conditions are right
for them.

A lot of companies are sitting on the sidelines seeing who is likely to come out
front as to which way to go (HP being a good example here).

MS's motivation for settling with SUN is, in my opinion, are and
Java - OOo is eating seriously into their MS-Office market (I do not believe I
have placed MS-Office on a customer's computer for more than 2 years now - but I
have lost count of the number of OOo installs..), and Java is really not good
for their .NET startergy.

SUN's motivations are a good cash injection and the possibility that their
(proprietory) solutions can be licensed through MS to 90% of the IT market. I
do not think they are going to drop their curious relationship with the
Open/Free community though, I know quite a few people in SUN and they appear to
be very eager on the open business model.

If you are worried about SUN though, download the SOURCE of (it
is GPL), so should SUN go the proprietory way entirely the community can
continue support and development of OOo.

The IT IP wars are going to get nasty (what we are seeing now is nothing - the
SCO incident will probably not even be a chapter in the book). It may lead to
physical warfair (yes - with guns!). I believe that the Open/Free movement will
win in the end, but it will be a long battle. However, that is only what I
think. It is impossible to know what is going to happen.

My 2c worth...

[ Reply to This | # ]

"regime" is an odd choice of words ...
Authored by: Lafayettegeorge on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 10:28 AM EST
From an IP litigation point of view, this is not a very surprising outcome - big
company A sues big company B for patent infringement (Intel v. AMD for example),
one of them has a stronger case but the other one can countersue on a new set of
patents and the two firms can spend years in court. What usually happens is that
a cash settlement is reached which includes what is usually termed a "cross
licenses" whereby both firms are licensed to use some part of the other
firms IP, a press release is issued "we are all friends now, isn't
technology wonderful?" and everyone goes back to making products until the
next law suit. The only thing that is odd about this one is the term
"regime", and that many of us are disappointed in Sun.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Bill Joy
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 10:39 AM EST
Bill Joy (a Sun co-founder) left Sun last year. (August, September? I don't
remember; the months run together so when you're working hard. Maybe it was
actually this year.) Does anyone have knowledge of whether or not he was
seeking to protest the negotiations toward this agreement between Sun and
Microsoft? I ask this question because it's hard to imagine that he would have
considered his work to be finished.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Bill Joy - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 09:48 PM EST
    • Bill Joy - Authored by: Ed L. on Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 04:58 AM EDT
    • Bill Joy - Authored by: dodger on Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 10:39 PM EDT
      • Bill Joy - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 01:45 PM EDT
Reactions to the future....
Authored by: kberrien on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 10:46 AM EST
This is all not that suprising. Linux/OSS is causing a change in the
traditional structure of the industry/market. MS and Sun are just trying to
make some adjustments.

To paraphrase Alvin Toffler, and his power triad:

1. Violence (lowest) The ability to punish and coerce.
2. Money (middle) The ability to punish OR reward.
3. Knowledge/information (highest) The most flexible, enhances 1 & 2. Can
make your enemy your friend, help you avoid 1 & 2. etc..

Proprietary vendors competitors, and thanks to the GPL, even its CUSTOMERS, have
in Linux/OSS top notch software which is more powerful than MS/Suns influence
& money.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: 401(k) Investments in SCO, Microsoft & Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 10:53 AM EST
Is anyone else troubled by the fact that their 401(k) funds may be investing in

SCO, Microsoft & Sun? I'm sure that the funds I invest in must be
these companies, but I'm not sure what I can do about it without jeopardizing
my retirement or having to individually invest in stocks on my own and spend
a lot of time managing my investments. It also bothers me that many people
are investing in companies they don't support through 401(k)'s without even
knowing it or giving it any thought. Do 401(k) funds in general make
companies less accountable for their actions?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is this the reason... (tin foil hat required)
Authored by: robobright on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 11:17 AM EST
why Sun is not going to open-source Java? Maybe it is a hint of something more
behind the scenes. M$ has the .NET development platform that is a "develop
with any .NET language you like" and it all compiles to the exact same
binary files. And it is supposed to compete direlty with Java. But I've not seen
a .NET framework built by M$ for any other OS cept Windows(no longer a TM?) 98
and up. Possibly Sun and Billy may share what's under the hood to improve both
programming languages? Or maybe this spells the end of Java? Will M$ buy out
Sun's Java business to shut down a true cross-platform programming tool? Will
another Canopy company buy Sun's Java language and find "infinging
code" stolen from M$ and sue every company that uses Java based software?
Code that M$ will never divulge?
Just my theory for the day...

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Mobsters vs. Gardeners
Authored by: cybervegan on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 11:39 AM EST
Just a little thought, from my warped imagination:

Proprietary IT corporations are akin to mobsters;

The F/OSS community are akin to gardeners;

They run 'protection rackets' and engage in gang-wars (in
the courts) over technology, and use 'persuasion'
techniques to win and keep 'customers'. They only
co-operate when they have to.

We, of the F/OSS community quietly tend our thriving
garden of source trees, occasionally arguing a bit over
the best fertiliser or pruning method, but generally get
on nicely. We co-operate because we *want* to.

F/OSS is the digital equivalent of organic farming.

This could explain such behaviour from MS and Sun -
joining up to go "F/OSS-Bashing"... not a pleasant

Go on, flame me if you must. Makes sense to me,
regardless ;-D


I wish I never had taken this dare
I wasn't quite prepared
doll me up in my bad luck
I'll meet you there -- verse 2, "Doll" by Foo Fighters

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Civil disobediance
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:13 PM EST
If patents and similar suits really started getting in the way of Linux, don't
you think we'd start seeing more civil disobediance. Online sharing of music is
civil disobediance, and despite a comparison I once read stating that America
doesn't go in for that kind of thing, it seems to be happening.

If the patent system becomes such an encumberment to an increasing amount of
people, then surely it will lose more and more respect. Its already losing a lot
anyway thanks to the stupidly broad and "patently obvious" patents
(now where does that term come from?) that its already giving. Laws _are_ meant
to serve the people, aren't they??

America, and its big corporates, are increasingly being seen as hazardous. This
may be an over reaction in many cases, but it is becoming a more popular one
over here in Europe. Pity most of the anti-McDonalds mob don't have the
technical know-how to consider Microsoft.

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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Kilz on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:26 PM EST
"Microsoft will be allowed to continue to provide technical support for customers that use its Java Virtual Machine, the software needed to run Java programs."
It looks like Micro$oft just paid a little to breath life into NT for a few more years. I remember reading that the java machine was a major reason NT was to be discontinued.

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Tin-foil hats off, thinking caps on
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:33 PM EST
While unable to take an active part in directly destroying linux and open source
due to monopoly issues, it's apparently not against the rules to pay other
companies to do it for you. My belief is that MS will continue to provide
assistance to struggling companies either directly (like Sun) or indirectly
(like SCO). In SCO's case, MS got a lot for almost nothing. I think they played
on the greed of the upper level management at SCO. The end result is a lot of
open source damaging fud, and one very dead unix company (does anyone think SCO
will have customers when the dust settles?). I expect that the next effort will
be lawsuits brought by Sun against various open source providers (bringing the
patent power to bear that both companies keep talking about). From Microsoft's
view, Sun doesn't have to win, just create fud long enough for Longhorn to hit
the market and save the day (at least that's how MS will portray it).

BTW, let's see if Sun suddenly gets an influx of investment capitol about the
time that SCO folds to buy what's left. This will give Sun more power to wage
litigious wars while doing very little help them survive.

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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:54 PM EST
It’s basically a matter of fair-use vs. DMCA Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Authored by: gleef on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:11 PM EST

When The Register reported this article, right under the headline, where they put something witty about the subject, they had "Peace In Our Time", which for the less historically minded, is the common misquoting of British Prime Minister Neville Chaimberlain's sound bite patting himself on the back after the 1938 Munich Conference (I'm pretty sure he actually said "Peace for our time", not a major difference). This was the conference where Britain and France essentially gave Czechoslovakia to Germany to "prevent" a world war (worked real well, didn't it). OK, they technically didn't give all of Czechoslovakia to Germany, just the part with the military defenses (hmm, wonder what will happen next).

Personally, this settlement doesn't remind me of that event, it reminds me more of the non-agression pact that Germany and USSR signed prior to the same war. The pact specified that neither of them would attack each other (won't sue for ten years), trade of key items back and forth (Java on Windows, Windows on Sun Boxes, both with royalties going back and forth), and secretly, behind the scenes, partitioning Poland between the two for the subsequent invasion. Note, that both parties were fully intending to screw each other over later (Germany beat USSR to it by a year or two, but the feeling was mutual), but not until Poland was safely dealt with.

It seems clear to me that both Microsoft and Sun are looking at Linux as Poland. We must make it clear that we are not.

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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: fmouse on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:32 PM EST
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is quoted saying that entrenched interests are trying to close off the internet for their own advantage, and I personally suspect that the SCO attack on Linux is part of that bigger picture...

McBride, Sontag and their various partners, attorneys, etc. are not stupid. They wouldn't be drawing down what are probably 6 figure salaries if they were. I don't think they genuinely believe that they can win the case against IBM. The whole SCO/Linux/IBM action has to be a show. At very least, they're maintaining a reason for MicroSun and their allies to say "look, Linux and open source is a legal minefield. Unless you want to get sued, don't go there."

The law, as a weapon, has many edges, some of which cut both ways, but one facet of the law that is always on the side of the likes of MicroSun and others with substantial cash reserves is expressed by the adage "he who has the gold makes the rules." I hate to be cynical, but as far as I can see, we're watching the stage being set so that the threat of legal action can be used as a bludgeon to drive people away from open source, whether or not any present or future case has any legal merit or not.

This is, perhaps, only the least of it, and unfortunately, PJ, you may be presentient here, and your paranoia may be warranted. As security worsens on the Internet (a direct result of MS's fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of Internet security) and other problems, such as spam, become more severe, we may well see a push by MS and friends to regulate who and what can serve information on the Internet. It's entirely plausable, and I consider it likely, that we'll see an effort to pass legislation for the Internet along the same lines as the Federal Communications Act of 1934, which formalized the provisions of the 1927 Radio Act. We can certainly expect that such a law would

  • Require that all servers operating on the public Internet be licenced.

  • Require that servers operating on the Internet be run federally approved software, and only such software.

  • Require that server admins be licenced and certified (MSCE, anyone?), and pass exams similar to those required to operate a radio station

  • Require that software authors who wish to write software for use on the public Internet be certified and licenced.
I very much suspect that this is on the minds of many of the Big Players on the proprietary software scene, and that MS is probably positioning itself to be in a key position when this happens. Forget the fact that it's poorly written MS software that has caused the security problems. People are afraid, and will be made moreso. When people are afraid, and people with the trappings of authority tell them that up is down and black is white, they are disinclined to question it.

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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: ujay on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:46 PM EST
Reading the Register Article I was struck by this statement from Steve Ballmer

This agreement recognizes that cutting edge R&D and intellectual property protection are the foundation for the growth and success of our industry.

I can't exactly blame MS and Sun for taking this setp. They have been fighting each other for years, and now find themselves being blindsided by an issue neither camp had taken too seriously in the past. That issue is the F/OSS stance on copyright and patent as applied to software.

Let's be honest with ourselves. The average computer user ( the millions world wide ) could care less about patent/copyright issues. As users, they just want to get their mail, browse the web, run their games, and conduct their business. MS, and to some extent Sun, knows this, and their systems give the users these abilities (even if sloppily secured).

There has always been the minority voice of independants screaming about the unconstitutionality of software patent/copyright, but for the most part, these were marginalized and viewed as extremists. It has only been in the last few years that the message of the F/OSS community has been gathering strength. A lot of that strength came from organizations and businesses who were tired of the decreasing amount of control they had over their own purchases, the severe lack of options to correct the situation, and the increasing cost of doing 'business as usual' in regards to licensing fees and software costs.

The SCO fight is only the first salvo in this war, and it's effects will probably be minimal, as SCO simply does not have the resources for a long and protracted legal battle. I'm fairly certain that companies like MS, Sun, HP, et. al., are watching this closely, not to see who wins, but to see which way the wind is blowing in this issue. At heart, the SCO fight is not about winning or losing, I think it is about setting legal precedent for the larger battle ahead.

Ballmer is taking SCO's position in this battle, by stating clearly that 'intellectual property protection' is fundamental 'for the growth and success of our industry'. How does one protect such property, if not by legal means? If MS takes this approach, we will be faced with a litigant who has the resources and connections to withstand the lengthy process. Making a deal with Sun at this point in time is probably a tactical move, freeing up the legal resources that are/were devoted to the Sun issue, allowing them to devote more resources to the IP fight.

We in the F/OSS community may be making a tactical error of our own on this issue, one that I think MS et. al. fervently wish we don't correct. That error is in thinking that the issue would be settled in court. I don't think so. The issue of IP/Patent protection regarding software will not be decided in court, but in congress. The courts will make determinations on individual cases via interpretation of existing legislation and case law. As long as the law allows for patents on software, and blanket copyright of something as insubstantial as software, then the courts will only succeed in setting further precedent for maintaining the present system.

With Jack Valenti and the *AA paying congress to ensure the existing status quo, this is a battle we could easily lose. Add in the resources of organizations like MS, Sun and others and the voice of the people will be drowned out in the sound of shuffling dollars.

When, therefore, I considered all this, and the type of men who were administering the affairs of State, with their laws too and their customs, the more I considered them and the more I advanced in years myself, the more difficult appeared to me the task of managing affairs of State rightly. For it was impossible to take action without friends and trusty companions; and these it was not easy to find ready to hand; since our State was no longer managed according to the principles and institutions of our forefathers; while to acquire other new friends with any facility was a thing impossible. Moreover, both the written laws and the customs were being corrupted, and that with surprising rapidity.
--- Plato --

We must stand firm in the courts, but we must also bring pressure to bear on the congress where the actual ability to make argument favoring the intentions of the designers of the constitution can bear fruit. On it's own, the issues brought before congress would be insufficient due to the current influence of the industries dependent upon the maintenance of those very misapplied laws. It will also require a well thought out and applied campaign of public education and awareness, as well as the public involvement in bringing pressure to bear on those who's job it is to protect the public welfare.

I'll close with an article I placed on my web site ( I'm not supplying the url, as I doubt my web server would survive being 'groklawed').

Software development is both an art and a science, yet it is also so much more. It is a creative expression, a curiosity explored, a goal reached for, and a triumph of shared vision. It is the immutable essence of the human spirit, reaching for understanding, to communicate, to explore the unknown, and express our delight in the application of our efforts. This art has developed into a communal effort, with multiple individuals all working together to create their joint expression.

On the other hand, as a science software is also considered, by those who see a value other than philosophical in software, a product whose existence must be viewed as an object subject to ownership, and thus proprietary control. The uniqueness of software, and the environment it operates within, is that it is insubstantial, existing only within the movement of electrons, dependant on the operation of technological marvels such as logic gates, circuit pathways, and the specific sequencing of a series of basic real numbers, specifically, Ones and Zero's.

There is no natural physical form for software. Source code itself, unless printed out, is simply another grouping of numbers, whose display and control is itself controlled by another grouping of numbers. Software, as printed code on paper, is particularly useless except as an educational or training aid.

Software is as insubstantial as a thought prior to speech. I find it quite odd that we exist in a time where freedom of thought and speech are considered to be a natural right of humanity, while at the same time, the formal expression of a thought or idea in a software format is considered to be property, and building upon or improving the idea is actively discouraged.

The application of copyright and patent laws on software, absent the required modifications to these legal enactments to reflect the alterations to the social and technological environment that have ocurred, is discouraging the innovative spirit that originally brought about the technological advances that made the development of software possible in the first place. Those who are registering copyrights and patents on software surely fall within the catagory of the mutually selfish or domineering.

I do not advocate that software be exempt from copyright, (although I fail to see how software can be liable for patent, due to it's ephemeral nature), as that would be as damaging as uncritically applying current copyright law to a new cultural and technical model. And yet, if one desires to exempt their particular software from copyright limitations of their own accord, they are increasingly being denied that level of proprietary control by those same advocates of proprietary control. As Spock would say, 'That is not logical'.

The GPL is a good interim solution, as it gives credit where credit is due, allows people to enhance and build on good ideas, and the marketplace itself drives what is succesful or not. Proprietary software, by limiting options, does not allow the market to drive development, rather, the market is locked into solutions and software that do not meet the needs of individuals or corporations. Our activities and business models are driven not by our overall aims or intentions, but by the need to adjust many of our processes to the limitations of the available software choices.

The GPL allows us to offer our product for no charge, or to charge for our product if we so desire. The limiting factor is, if you build on software that is licensed for free, you cannot charge for your alterations, such activity going against the wishes of the original developer(s). Rather than remove control of the application from the developer, this license allows the originators to protect their investment of time and energy from those who would shanghai their ideas and code for profit.

This particular licence meets the demands of the constitution by providing a mechanism that actively promotes the art and science of software development, while still allowing the originator to profit from their work. The level of profit in monetary terms may not be as large as the obscene profit margins incurred by the closed source model, but monetary renumeration is not the sole motivation for scientists, artists or developers. In many respects, reputation can yield more opportunity for positions incurring greater monetary value, while for others it may be as simple as doing something for the betterment of the community.

It appears that this is the major stumbling block for the majority of corporations whose sole function is software development. They have my sympathy (if not my respect), as they will have to redefine their business or die. Such is the marketplace. You cannot defy the screams of your customers indefinitely, without paying the consequences.

Programmer: A biological system designed to convert coffee and cheesies into code

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  • Nicely said - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 08:28 PM EST
on cross-licensing
Authored by: gdeinsta on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:35 PM EST

Thanks for the calm voice. I know from my work that .NET is making inroads with large corporations, although server-side seems to be owned by Java servelets (who'd have guessed?). I think Sun concluded that they were losing ground on the desktop and it was time to change the strategy.

As for cross-licensing, that is done all the time by hardware companies. For example AMD and Intel cross-license, yet they are bitter (to the death) enemies. In an environment dominated by patents it is the standard way to cope.

OTOH Now that MS has cleared the decks I expect them to launch a patent assault on FOSS.

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Microsoft in Danger of losing the desktop monopoly
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:39 PM EST
Sun (a large company with assets, not some privately held piddle little vendor
looking to break even that Microsoft could care less about) just released their
Java Desktop on a Microtel PC for sale at and it is HIGHLY possible
it will make it to the retail stores. Currently, you can ONLY ONLY buy a Windows
Compaq, HP, or Dell in most major stores like Best Buy, Office Max, Sears, or
Circuit City to name a few. They refuse to carry any other. CompUSA sells macs
too, but that is it! And the the retail monopoly of Microsoft has been going on
WAY too long (past 15 years?) The time time I saw another type of computer was a
Commodore 64 sold by Sears, and that was about ten years ago. I believe the
Commodore 64 still hold the record for retail sales per fiscal year. So why is
Microsoft so popular? Not because of technical superiority, but because of it's
illegal monopoly, that's why! I'm sick OF IT!

"Were we planning on getting into consumer and doing stuff like we're
seeing at Wal-Mart? That wasn't in the original plan," said Peder Ulander,
senior director of marketing for Sun's desktop group. "The reality is the
market is coming back and saying, `We're sick and tired.'" (copyright
Associated Press)

Does this scare the crap out of Microsoft?

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Poor Scot
Authored by: NemesisNL on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:42 PM EST
First MS messed up Java on MS with their own VM version now they will destroy
java through .net.....No not by competing, by integrating it into the .net
structure. Then they will make sure Java underperforms so every one wants to do I'm sure MS does not want because this means a potential killer
app could be ported to Linux with great ease, because no porting would be needed
if Java were to retain it's platform independence. This MS will never let
happen. So Sun will probably be around for a few years and then slowly fade
away. Great coup MS.

There's just one problem. MS has already angered a lot of people and this will
realy get them going. I can't beleive IBM will just let this slip. They are a
major player in the java field so their support of java is important. I gues
there's no chance of java going open source now. MS would never allow it. That
would mean they loose control and they realy want java out of the way and get
people to get on the bandwagon.

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Fair Patenting and Copyrighting
Authored by: tizan on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 03:20 PM EST
I am afraid that a fair patenting/copyrighting scheme is what we need and
we are going far away from it. What is petented and is patentable.
Do we patent things like Einstein relativity theory
Can I talk about what an author has written and have i paid for his effort of
putting it in a book or i have to read it and keep my mouth shut as its
copyrighted material.

If we are not careful...we will reach a point that teachers will not be able to
teach and mothers won't be able to tell bedtime stories without putting cash in
a machine somewhere.

Also why are we who write something so arrogant to feel we have all the rights
on that material... isn't that material we write from knowledge we got from
others too. everytime i write a program that has 2+2=4 do i thank my teacher for
it... without her i would not have learnt it...
So any intellectual material we produce today is a combination of ours and
experience of generation of others...So lets get paid "fairly" for our
effort and let it contribute to the knowledge of others the same way i got
tonnes knowledge for free (as in air).

tizan: Knowledge is shared

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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: m_si_M on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 04:48 PM EST
To be honest, I think most of the conspiracy theories posted here are false. No
one has to be happy about the settlement and about Sun in general but I want to
bring some issues to attention:

1. Sun didn't have something like a strategy over the last years. 'Chaos' would
be a better description. So don't expect any long term thinking behind the move.
Sun needed money and didn't want to waste ressources in court rooms.

2. Sun set free. Though OOo is Open Source, Sun still payrolls
most of the developers. As a consequence any company can release its own version
of OOo and sell it (as e.g SOT in Finland), while the major work is paid by

3. Without there would be no office suite available
for Linux, which would be able to compete with M$ Office (KOffice and 'Gnome
office' are not!). IBM didn't GPL SmartSuite or at least release a Linux

4. I have a 3 CD demo of Sun's Java Desktop here. It's based on SuSE Linux
Standard Server 8. On CD 1 you find the copyright notices. There you can read
that the major part of the software is GPLed. And you find another file
containing the GPL. Neither my last SuSE box nor my current Mandrake box mention
the GPL on the package.

You don't have to like Sun, but I think it is important to treat them as a
potential ally, not as an enemy. Today they waver between old style and new
style economy. But if I was someone at Sun reading comments like these, I would
think twice about close cooperation with the community in the future.


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It is just history repeating itself.
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 05:41 PM EST
The church really really really tried to stop the printing press. They failed,
this lot will fail to, but only if enough people care.

The evil empire; once it was the church, now it's microsoft, sun, and times

I wonder; in 100 years time who will remembered as the defender of humanity; the
defender of the free exchange of ideas. I reckon PJ might be lining herself up
for a place in history.

It is going to be an interesting, and at this stage one would have to say the
USA legislature is showing very little foresight. It would seem evil empires can
grow out of democratic nations if enough people don't care.

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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: smoot on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 07:13 PM EST
Let's keep in mind the weak market position Sun currently finds itself in. I am
sure that had a lot to do with this settlement. I have felt for several years
that Sun will eventually die or be acquired. It is a shame, since they are the
single hardware vendor which was devoted solely to Unix. I loved their OS. It
was well designed and easy to administer. But business is cruel and often
technological excellence does not win.

Also keep in mind that both the other commercial Unix vendors, IBM and HP, have
alliances with Microsoft and support Linux at the same time. The bottom line for
these 2 large corporations is how to maximize profits. They will partner with
whomever can provide them a viable and profitable business relationship.

We are quickly reaching a world where there will be only 2 full-service hardware
vendors - IBM and HP. They are the only two outfits large enough to survive.
They will match up their hardware with whichever OS and applications which sells
their computers.

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  • Dell ? - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 08:33 PM EST
Wow, to think I took this site seriously once
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 08:52 PM EST
Then i read the article and comments here, and realised its full of
paranoid zealots who jump to absurd conclusions with no basis, lie, and
believe any old stupid conspiracy theory regardless of complete lack of
any evidence.. Its remarkable, and I really am quite appalled at the sheer
ignorance and lack of critical thought displayed here. If this is typical of
the linux community, then I for one am staying away - just like I stay
away from the moonies and scientologists.

First of all, Sun is a major linux vendor that has put massive resources
into the java Desktop System, now the #1 shipping Linux variant. They
intend to sell it on Opterons for the server-side, to boot. Additionally,
without Sun's help over the eyars, giving it its office solution, and doing
much work on Gnome, and aiding its enterprise server abilities via
J2EE, the linux's competitive position would be severely retarded.

Secondly, the Java Platform is already remarkably open. It is not, as
several people on this thread have maintained, monopoly-controlled by
Sun. All the specifications for the Java Platform are freely available,
allowing anybody to create a Java-compliant system. More, changes to
Java and the future sirection fo the Java platform are arranged through
the JCP, which has 16 elected members in control of the Java Platform -
only one of which is Sun (although it is the only permanent member). If
you want to make changes to Java, or to have a say in what happens to it
in the future, you can join the JCP, make a JSR, and have a say
democratically along with everybody else - from IBM to Oracle to Sun
to Nokia, right down to the humble developer. Therefore, Sun would
find it extremely difficult to impose deleterious changes upon the Java
Platform, and if Sun dies or vanishes tomorrow, it would make very
little difference to Java itself, which would carry on regardless. In fact,
the big players in the Java world that make the most money from the
technology are the likes of IBM and BEA and HP and so on, more than
Sun itself - its a shame that Sun hasn't managed to capitalise on Java as
much as it would like, but there you go.

Sun has settled with Microsoft for a significant amount of money at a
helpful time. Admittedly, it already had $6 Billion in the bank, but an
extra two can't hurt, and more importantly this helps cheer the
shareholders a little. MS recently reached a watershed in settling with
the EU, after that point there were no major suits it had to deal with
other than the Sun one. From the POV of typical IP disputes, that Sun
and MS have settled is neither remarkable or even especially

Right now J2EE & .NET are the real competitors in the world of IT, and
the cross licensing is much more relevant to the middleware segment
than to the OS layer. J2EE and .NET are both sold to heterogenous
environments where it is extremely important that single sign-on
systems, various naming and directory protocols, and so on, can
interoperate seamlessly. Both the .NET and J2EE worlds have found it a
real pain in the arse that parts of this, such as single sign-on, has been
difficult, and I understand that the settlement will allow both
companies to acheive much better interoperability across the board,
which is only good for customers and developers.

Where this ranting conspiracy piece, and the commenters on this site,
are getting these bizarre and *completely* unsubstantiated ideas about
"Sun being owned by MS and now they're going to team up to get
Linux!" is totally beyond me.

I'm really very dissapointed in this website. I suppose, if I were of the
same tendencies as the posters here, I would point out that this site has
received donations from IBM, and that IBM hates Sun, and that
*therefore* this webste is in an alliance with IBM to blacken the name
of Sun however it can. I woudl give no evidence for these assertions, of
course. But that would be absurd. Unfortunately, it seems to be the level
of debate here.

Why can't people possess themselves of the facts before spewing off
complete nonsense?

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The Sad Sinking Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 08:53 PM EST
I have a lot of respect for Sun and their many technical contributions, but it
is very clear what happened. Ten years ago or so, Sun was probably working on
long term strategies for a world beyond Sparc Solaris. Around that time, the
bubble hit, and the immense growth that came with it blinded them from
continuing to understand the importance of a long term strategy. It is not the
same, but there are a lot of similarities between the fall of DEC and what has
happened to Sun.

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Disappointed Indeed
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 11:38 PM EST
As a long time reader and fan of GROKLAW, I must say the reactions to this story
are immensely disappointing in their vehemence. While the sentiment is
understandable in light of the SCO payment and last week's deal, the reactions
here - in my view - are grossly disproportionate to Sun's behaviors.

Certainly a Sun more solidly positioned behind Linux and open source in general
- and a Sun unaligned with SCO - would be ideal. But do they really deserve the
bashing and unadulterated libel they're enduring here?

How quickly we all forget Sun's contributions. A few of the major ones, not to
mention projects like Jini, etc.

1. Open Office
2. netbeans (yes, Eclipse is better, but nonetheless it's open source)
3. Java (not open source, but open, and the only real obstacle to .NET in
today's market)

Seeing McNealy and Ballmer on stage last week was painful for all of us - but
imagine how it must have felt for McNealy himself, the most outspoken anti-MS
executive in the world for the past few decades?

We all might want McNealy to keep fighting the good fight, but the fact is that
he's responsible to shareholders, not us. If he can service his customers by
interoperating with MS better (and i def agree with the Sun employee who stated
that this is a major concern) and pocket a boatload of cash at the same time,
I'd be for it were I a shareholder.

As I'm not, and I'm a fan of Linux and open source, I don't like the move. But
neither am I going to rant and rave against them b/c without Sun the landscape
might look a lot more MS-centric right now. Or do you think w/o Java most of the
enterprise dev world wouldn't be MS right now?

I'm not an employee of the organization. Just someone who thinks the current
commentary smacks of ungratefulness. To put it more simply, Sun ain't the best
friend to open source and Linux in the world, but they ain't the worst either.

I also think the speculation on the Linux layoffs was both irresponsible and
exceedingly uninformed.

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Authored by: Night Flyer on Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 01:01 AM EST
In my business courses I was told that collusion was against the law, especially
if the intent or outcome was to divey markets, fix prices and/or reduce

Maybe Microsoft and Sun have found a way around this. Is the new way for
corporations to control the market (without open collusion) by having court
cases where each can look into the inner workings of the other and arrange

It appears to me as an outsider (I don't work for M$ or Sun) that Microsoft
bought off Sun Microsystems and, while doing so, M$ seems to have some control
over where Sun can and can not spent the money.

Note: If I owned a company that just came into a big windfall of money, I would
not be laying off people, I would be exploring new areas of business (not
necessarily those areas in direct competition with M$).

In a simiilar situation, in the 1921 anti-trust decision, the courts gave George
Eastman quite strict rules on what Eastman Kodak (EK) could and could not do in
the market place. Two things were: EK could not purchase its competitors to
remove competition, and it could not sell at different prices in different areas
(to under cut local competitors to bankrupt them.) These still affect that
company today.

I note that M$ did not buy Sun or SCO, but I do note stories that claim that M$
sells its products at different prices in similar market places.

To all Open Source Programmers:
If its going to be a battle of patents, make sure you get a clear patent on
anywhere Linux has broken new ground. (It will be interesting when MS bumps into
an Open Source patent. Unfortunately, based on my understanding of the GPL, M$
could easily benefit from Open Source work, but the Open Source has no mechanism
to deal with a M$ patent (that is a road block to a new area or protocol).

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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 01:58 AM EST

To me this just means that StarOffice will be able to read, write, and convert
MS Office files without any problems. That's a *good* thing.

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FYI: Open Office
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 01:59 AM EST
StarDivision, the original author of the StarOffice suite of software, was founded in Germany in the mid-1980s. It was acquired by Sun Microsystems during the summer of 1999 and StarOffice 5.2 was released in June of 2000. Future versions of StarOffice software, beginning with 6.0, have been built using the source, APIs, file formats, and reference implementation. uses a dual-licensing scheme for source-code contributions: the LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License) and SISSL (Sun Industry Standards Source License). For documentation and website content not intended to be included in the product, we use the Public Documentation License (PDL). Our License page provides more information on our licenses and on our policies regarding the application of those licenses. As well, our we have several FAQs deal ing with licensing.

For PJ & Elves :) This is the man to contact about OOO.orgs "Future Roadmap". If SUN has one, other than the possibility of "killing" via orders from his Gatesness in Redmond.

waynesworld Deamons @ the Jersey Shore

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Two primary targets left: the joys of focus..
Authored by: cheros on Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 09:00 AM EDT
Am I the only one feeling that we see a sort of
consolidation of battles here?

On the one side we have SUN, SCO and MS, in various ways
concerned about anything to do with Linux for simple $$
reasons (shareholder value, clueless, evil, failure to
adjust business models a la RIAA, take your pick). But
their weapons lack the ammo of reality so it's back to
psychological warfare. The problem is, especially techies
are a bit insensitive to this stuff as they deal with
reality too often to get swayed much by wishful thinking.

On the other side we have Linux, and IBM who has rescued
an organisation with it that was almost dead (read Louis
Gerstner's "Who says elephants can't dance"), not to
mention Novell which has always been quite reasonable at
delivering things that actually work (novel, indeed, if
you pardon the pun ;-). IBM has learned the hard way what
Linux can do if the whole concept is respected and treated
well, with Novell picking up the desktop (see Novell/SuSE
9.1 announcements and you'll get an idea of things to
come) and maybe cleaning up the management of a whole IT

I can see the sense of this polarity.

Add to that the growing realisation of current customers
(a) MS is expensive and increasingly less value for money
(see the recent comments about their software licensing
scheme as just one example of many), and more and more a
risk on account of virus/patch-of-the-hour problems (I
dare you to find any Pro MS study that incorporates the
cost of license management and patch/virus/security/risk
management in TCO)
(b) proprietary UNIX is not as cost effective as Linux on
whatever hardware you throw at it (I know of situations
where Linux brought 4x performance at 1/2 of the costs -
after only two weeks of porting)
(c) Linux is not as bad for them as the FUD appears to
make out, they can try it for free and ther technical
people have known this for years.

.. and I can see a battle taking shape at a much higher
level - all the way up to politics. For instance, does
anyone have an idea what Dodgy Diebold is running inside
their electronic voting machines?

Just in case you would wonder why at that level, the
answer is simple: any vendor of fundamentally unsound
concepts will try and travel up as high up the management
chain as possible, because people at that level know less
about technology (they have other skills needed at that
level) but still make the mistake of authorising and
focusing such expense on the vendors' advice. In other
words, the word of God says you should buy thingymajiggies
because the nice vendor has promised to make the
transition smoothly.
And indeed, as you call their helpline for the umpteenth
time whilst implementing this "hairball" (thank you,
Scott) they go through great lengths to assure you that
your call is important. As a matter of fact, they do so
continuously against soothing background music for the
next 20 minutes until you give up (which was the whole
idea - it's more profitable to play hold music on a
premium line than actually staffing it).

Of course, this is all assumption, it just looks like the
ultimate conspiracy theory. But uncomfortably so..


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Why believe the commentaries?
Authored by: bruce_s on Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 01:45 PM EDT
When reading some of the above messages, the thought came
to me "Why believe the commentaries?", some of the
commentators and analysts have been sooo wrong about the
SCO case and Linux, so why would we believe them when they
are feeding our conspiracies?
This may be a different level of FUD, by breaking a
possible Sun/FLOSS alliance.
Keep an eye open for a problem, but until the threat
appears, keep attention mostly on MS and SCO.

Bruce S.

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Preparing to take on IBM?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 02:04 PM EDT
There are two ways Microsoft might seek to head off the challenge from open
source software. The first is to try to establish a proprietary architecture
that open source products cannot interface with. The second, if that fails, is
to try to bury open source in lawsuits. This second approach will inevitably
bring it into a patent battle with IBM. Perhaps a large part of this MS/SUN
agreement is about building its war chest for such a battle.

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Sun Linux Desktop
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 08:41 PM EDT
Sun are trying really hard to hide the fact that their Sun Java Desktop is a
Linux distro. The tech and mainstream press really need to openly take Sun to
task for failing to credit their use of GNU and Linux components. It's rather
clear what Sun is trying to do here -- they are taking credit (plagiarizing) of
Linux for their own gain.

There is a distinct difference between using Linux in an embedded device, like
my LinkSys router, and creating a distribution as Sun have done. It is socially
acceptable to do this. Sure, pay for Unix Sys V and the right to call it
Solaris. But when you do that with FOSS, it is plagiarism. If Sun want to use
Linux and GNU tools to build their OS, they had better give the hard-working
FOSS developers some credit!

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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: drtr on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 10:44 AM EDT
What's Sun got the MS may be able to use?

- Hardware
- a SCOProof UNIX licence
- Java.

What has MS got that Sun needs?

- Money.

The only reason Sun will now continue to exist is because MS wants them to.

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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 01:09 PM EDT
I'm very curious about this. When M$ settles, it does so on its own terms. And
it's never really been about the money either.

While I think a wait-and-see approach (with a lot of preparing though), I have a
message for Sun:

"the friend of my enemy is my enemy"

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MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"
Authored by: DaveF on Wednesday, April 07 2004 @ 05:30 PM EDT

"I was gratified to hear that the warring parties had buried the hatchet. It pained me to discover that they had chosen to bury it squarely in my back."


Imbibio, ergo sum

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