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Goldman Sachs: Linux Will Dominate in the Corporate Data Center - and a Tip for Them
Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 11:41 AM EDT

There's a very interesting paper published by Goldman Sachs and posted by Hewlett Packard, Fear the Penguin [PDF]. You will recall that both companies sent representatives to join Steve Ballmer and Ron Hovsepian on the stage and to speak about how wonderful it all was on the day Microsoft and Novell announced their deal. According to the paper, Linux is going to take over the corporate data center. Here's the first paragraph:
Linux-on-Intel appears likely to emerge as the dominant platform in corporate data centers. This paradigm shift should have significant implications for a broad range of enterprise IT vendors. Our handbook highlights key themes and offers an initial framework for investing in Linux’s emergence.

Isn't this the the company that brokered that deal? Anyway, the paper is presumably so you too can make a bundle from Linux. Microsoft evidently knows it is over for them going forward as the dominant player in that area, and the deal, with its "you must pay me forever to use Linux" aspect, likely flows from that stark awareness. And all the folks that make money from Microsoft want to find a way to make money from Linux going forward now.

I have a tip for them. If you want the community to code for you -- and you do, as that is the source of the money you want to make -- respect the terms of the GPL and its intent. And block Microsoft from being able to redefine what the community can do with its code. Otherwise, things won't work out well for your investments.

I'm providing this free tip, because I discern from the paper that the Goldman Sachs folks who wrote it don't know as much about Linux as they imagine in one respect:

We believe the emergence of Linux will most directly benefit independent PC semiconductor companies (Intel and AMD) and Intel-based server businesses (Dell) while having a mixed impact on proprietary systems companies (Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems). It should also benefit “open” infrastructure software vendors such as BEA Systems, BMC Software, Oracle, and Veritas at the expense of infrastructure software companies with proprietary solutions, though it may negatively affect overall software pricing at the same time. Although we believe that Red Hat is well on its way to establishing a definitive standard for enterprise Linux, we also believe it is primarily a service provider and that it should be valued as such.

Enterprise dudes have a lot of trouble with the FOSS concept. They are used to selling licenses for software in a box, and that is what they know. It's like the RIAA. They want to sell albums, no matter what you, the customer, wants.

Well, here's the news, boys: things have changed. Much of what you know or think you know is out-of-date. And if you don't want to sink like a stone, you need to make some changes.

Here's part of what the enterprise doesn't know: In the United States, Linux adoption comes from the large commercial guys, but outside of the US, it's not that way. In Europe, it's small to medium businesses, educational entities and nonprofits, for example. In Asia, it's government. A lot of FOSS coders are in Europe, actually, not the US. What does that mean? It means if you mess with the GPL, you won't make the money you thought you would. Because outside of your rarified air, that's what people care about. That is your miscalculation. Most FOSS coders chose that license, and for a reason: to keep folks like you from strip mining the ecosystem. You think you'll make a bundle if you could just find a way to strip mine, but what will happen if you do is the US will be isolated with Brand X Dead End Linux. The rest of the world will continue to code and share under the GPL, which will be rewritten as needed to protect the community, and they will find a way to prevent you from ripping off their work in ways that are offensive to them. What you need, to make some money, is partnerships with the community, not just the vendors who just gather up their work and pass it along. Not formal partnerships, but an atmosphere of respect, one for the other. I'm not saying what vendors do isn't valuable. It is. But it's not the mouth of the river you want flowing your way.

Business folks think they can do to Linux what they did to Unix. But you can't. Why not? It worked there, despite the outcries from the true authors of the code. Here's why. This time, the GPL stands in your way. You can close off one iteration of code, but you can't take it all proprietary, the way you did Unix. Ha ha. That's the bottom line.

Here's what else you don't yet understand. The community understands licenses. They are brainiacs. You can't fool them. You can buy a few, but you could just hire people if you want to control them. Then you are right back where you started, in a Cathedral instead of a Bazaar, and you are dying to get the Bazaar. To get the Bazaar, you have to play fair, as defined by the license.

Ask yourself a question: is Linux winning in the data center because of you? Was it you who saw five or ten years ago it would happen? That it should? Or was it the geeks, the guys who wrote it and used it, who saw the value of the operating system and got it into all the places where they worked? Sometimes they had to sneak it in, because you were too dense to see its value, IIRC. See what I mean? When it comes to software, you can't get rid of the geeks and be successful. As Steve Ballmer told you, it's about developers. Developers, developers, developers. You are messing with the guys that can make you successful. How counterintuitive is that, if you want the Golden Goose to keep laying those Golden Eggs?

Software isn't soap. You can't manufacture it, package it up and you're set for life. It has to be updated and patched and innovated forward, perpetually. Who will do that for you if they dislike your business practices? Novell apparently imagined that there would be an outcry from a small number of "extreme fringe" folks and then it'd pass. But that isn't what happened, is it? How did their second quarter compare to the first? The community as a whole spoke: they hate these patent deals. You can interoperate all you want, but patent deals are violative of the GPL. Period. Extrapolate. Add in the possibility of litigation that can draw your company in or involve your investment, and you have to ask the pragmatic question: is this worth it? You can annoy your customers too, but then they drop you. How much more your upstream suppliers?

If you want the Bazaar, you also have to block Microsoft from shutting it down. The attempt to isolate noncommercial coders from commercial users and make Linux de facto proprietary would mean its doom. I'm sure Microsoft knows that, even if you didn't get it yet. The Goldman Sachs paper quotes from Linus' first email:

"Hello everybody... I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional...)." —Linus Torvalds

Let's imagine, now, that Microsoft's patent deals were in place back then. So to begin with, Linus and Linux are hobbyists, by Microsoft's current definition. But of course, nowadays it's beating Microsoft in the corporate data center, or is about to, according to this Goldman Sachs paper. So a guy can start out with nothing but a hobby in mind, and if enough people help out, you can end up with software that has a huge commercial footprint. But what would that mean for Linus and Linux? Let's read the wording from Microsoft's patent pledge to noncommercial programmers, and imagine, if you will, that it applied to Linus back then, just as Linux began to take on a commercial aspect:

This pledge is personal to You and does not apply to any use or distribution of Your Original Work by others....An “Individual Contributor” is an individual open source software developer (and not any corporation, partnership or other legal entity)....

The rights provided under this pledge are personal to You and are not for the benefit of others....

Many software developers, often referred to as “hobbyists,” write code not with the expectation of making money, but because they enjoy solving technical challenges and participating in a community of enthusiasts who recognize and encourage one another’s talents. One such community of hobbyist developers participate in the development of open source software. To further encourage these efforts, this pledge provides non-compensated individual hobbyist developers royalty-free use of Microsoft patents as set forth below....

Non-Assertion of Patents Pledge

Microsoft hereby covenants not to assert Microsoft Patents against each Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer (also referred to as “You”) for Your personal creation of an originally authored work (“Original Work”) and personal use of Your Original Work. This pledge is personal to You and does not apply to the use of Your Original Work by others or to the distribution of Your Original Work by You or others. A “Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer” is an individual software developer (i.e., a person and not any corporation, partnership or other legal entity), including a developer of open source software, who receives no monetary payment or any other forms of consideration that can be valued monetarily for their creation of their Original Works. The fact that You may be employed as a software developer by, and receive a salary from, a corporation, partnership or other legal entity, does not disqualify You from treatment as a “Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer” under this pledge, provided Your activities related to the creation of Your Original Work are performed during Your free time and outside the scope of Your employment.

As you can see, the second Linus stepped off of the noncommercial oasis, he'd be liable for a patent infringement claim, as would his code if you used it or sold it in a commercial world. I'm not saying I believe Microsoft has any valid patents. I have no idea, because like SCO, they never tell us. But let's imagine, for the sake of the discussion, that they did. Linux could never become what it has become, had those patent pledges been in place back then.

Get it? This promise not to sue hobbyist coders only if they remain hobbyists is the death sentence for any future Linux-style projects from the community. But that is who gave you Linux, folks. IBM didn't do it. Neither did HP or Microsoft or Goldman Sachs. And you can't mistreat those guys who have the skill to keep that money train chugging along for you, if you want them to keep coding. It's a matter of fairness. Tit for tat, if you will. They aren't asking you for money. I know you'd gladly pay that. But what they are asking for instead is that you respect the license terms they chose for their work.

The GPL tells you what you can and can't do, just like Microsoft's EULAs. And if you disrespect the GPL, you will find no one willing to code for you. I told you it wouldn't work out for Novell, didn't I? Well?

So that's a little friendly advice for you. I hope you believe me this time. It'll save you a lot of trouble. There really is a lot of money to be made, but not if you try to shove Linux into the proprietary mold. It won't work, and you'll lose money. Let FOSS be what it was intended by its authors, and make your money in new ways. Because as Red Hat has demonstrated by doing it, despite all of your dire predictions that it could never work, there is money to be made.


  


Goldman Sachs: Linux Will Dominate in the Corporate Data Center - and a Tip for Them | 281 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here
Authored by: MathFox on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 11:57 AM EDT
This interesting report is a few months old... Jan 2003.
It would be interesting to look at what became of its predictions after all
those months.

---
If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within
itself, then it is inconsistent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic Thread
Authored by: fettler on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 12:00 PM EDT
For starters - what about stumbling blocks?

---
I've been eating Parkin - that's why I am so brown

[ Reply to This | # ]

Report is 4 years old...
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 12:13 PM EDT
Take a look at the page footer of the document.

The real questions are:
- where is the market now?
- where will it be in 5 years time.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Well said PJ
Authored by: TedSwart on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 12:45 PM EDT
PJ;

You say:

"I have a tip for them. If you want the community to code for you -- and
you do, as that is the source of the money you want to make -- respect the terms
of the GPL and its intent. And block Microsoft from being able to redefine what
the community can do with its code. Otherwise, things won't work out well for
your investments."

All I can say is HEAR HEAR!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Big If
Authored by: kenryan on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 02:30 PM EDT
You keep saying "If you want the community to code for you...", and
working from that presumption.

I happen to think that most of these companies are moving towards OSS only
because they know they'll get beat if they don't. Customer demand has little to
do with it.

Yes, if they can strip-mine and make a profit off of OSS that'd be great. But
killing it off would be a perfectly acceptable outcome as well, even if only in
one country at a time. Microsoft, HP, Novell, etc. can then dust off their same
tired old code, shuffle the GUI around a bit, and go back to selling the same
old stuff and calling it new. That would be just as profitable if the
alternatives were eliminated.

Will it work in the very long run? Probably not. The roots of grass plants can
turn solid rock into fertile soil given enough centuries. But we're in a
culture where corporations are not encouraged to plan past the next stockholder
meeting, so the long run has no practical significance.

Sorry, I'm feeling kinda cynical today...

---
ken
(speaking only for myself, IANAL)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Business opportunity
Authored by: kozmcrae on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 02:46 PM EDT
Well PJ, if they don't want to listen to your advise, then I have a wonderful
business "opportunity" for them. All they need is some detergent,
glycerin and water and they're all set to go into the mail order bubble
business.

Richard


---
Coming soon: Signature 2.0

[ Reply to This | # ]

And heres some ways it won't work out for "your" investments
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 02:56 PM EDT
1) Lawsuits up your nostrels.
2) increased hacker activities and DDoS attacks on the minions of the dark
side.
3) Increased legal precedents and a degradation of corporate power to curtail
what we the people want. In other words no corporation wants less rights so
behave and we can do as we do now.
4) Negativity will mean fewer people actually invest in you , your products or
services. People like communities and when you mess with them people get into
action to spread also the word a mouth about bad players. It's like the bully in
hte sand box no one wants to play with him and when he can't bully he's all by
himself.

Other posters add more please.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 03:05 PM EDT
I may have an evil mind in this thread. OK so MS knows its beat so lets make
sure that the only people that CAN develop can't GET ANY MONEY For the work,
that would preclude a ton of helpers that get doantions and or are now paid full
time to work on stuff by organizations like the fsf.
Perhaps its another way to try sadly to divide the community which nothing MS
writes any progger or techie has faith in.

[ Reply to This | # ]

mixed impact on IBM - Goldman Sachs: Linux Will Dominate in the Corporate Data Center
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 03:06 PM EDT
Lets see, mixed impact on IBM. Oh, you mean because they are making a ton of
money supporting Linux they are the target of the SCO suit. Or maybe you mean
IBM sold its PC business and is focusing on virtual machines on big iron running
multiple Linux servers.

Seems funny to me that they chose to target the propriatary company that is in
the center of the five billion dollar lawsuit.

IBM is one of the leaders in porting applications to Linux.

Dell had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the Linux table.

Any one seen a recent IBM earnings report?

Dang, my salt shaker ran out reading about this report. I'll have to go to the
store before I can read the report itself.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Two Different Worlds
Authored by: vinea_mayhem on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 03:11 PM EDT
Here's part of what you don't know: In the United States, Linux adoption comes from the large commercial guys, but outside of the US, it's not that way. In Europe, it's small to medium businesses, educational entities and nonprofits, for example. In Asia, it's government. A lot of FOSS coders are in Europe, actually, not the US. What does that mean? It means if you mess with the GPL, you won't make the money you thought you would. Because outside of your rarified air, that's what people care about. That is your miscalculation. Most FOSS coders chose that license, and for a reason: to keep folks like you from strip mining the ecosystem. While a lot of FOSS coders are indeed in Europe there are also a lot of FOSS coders among the ranks of corporations. From the LWN article, 65% of the code changes for 2.6.20 kernel came from corporate coders. Novell developed XGL behind closed doors, Sun claims (and probably is) to be the largest open source code donator. Many of the open source luminaries and significant contributors work for large corporations. Many of these large corporations used to create and support their own fully featured operating systems (Sun, IBM, Novell, HP, etc). They have their own legions of coders. So it seems just as many FOSS coders choose their respective licenses because their companies told them to as those that choose an open source license because of personal beliefs. If the corporate world wants to adopt Linux on its own terms they certainly do not lack for eyes to make the problem shallow. The GPL v2 License and foundations like Apache provide them with safe territory to exhange code that will end up in the hands of competitors when it makes good business sense. The community source development (the other 50% of code development) increases the ROI of code donations. But neither is a required facet of the other and frankly I doubt the two communities will stay aligned for very long. Mercenaries and zealots are odd bedfellows that stay together only when the folks with the paychests dictate they stay together. The FSF with MS's help is likely to cause that fracturing with GPL v3. Besides, outside the rarified air of the FS community very few folks really care about licenses. BSD would be the unix and license of choice had it not been for the USL lawsuit that gave Linux the window to flourish. Good thing though...BSD is less well suited for corporations to cooperate under and they would do so behind closed doors with NDAs. Had Linus had a BSD to play with and not done Linux the world would be a smaller place. A more conservative corporate dominated GPL v2 Linux ecosystem with a FSF dominated GPL v3 GNU/Linux ecosystem would be a welcome addition to the mix I think...personally, I think most of us geeks don't really like conflict. We just like cool tech to play with. A community fork like that would give us the equivalent of a more vibrant BSD community (ie a tad more fast paced with more eyes) that is more tech focused than ideology focused. Vinea (lost the password to my old account)

[ Reply to This | # ]

mistreatment - Goldman Sachs: Linux Will Dominate in the Corporate Data Center
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 03:15 PM EDT
"...you can't mistreat those guys who have the skill to keep that money
train chugging along for you..."

Sorry PJ, companies are doing that all the time today. It's called rightsizing.
The older "expensive" coders, the ones who designed the system from
the ground up, and know what the business purpose the software was written to
solve, are deemed "too expensive", so the work is outsourced halfway
around the world, which is not to say those individuals are not talented, but
they haven't worked in the customers shoes.

Then they wonder why customers change products.

The corporate mind set is bottom line. If they think they can get away with
misappropriating open source software, they will. I'm tempted to say there are
no ethics in the business world, but I know there are a few around, just enough
to put the lie to a blanket statement.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Correct me if I am wrong...
Authored by: Night Flyer on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 03:44 PM EDT
Personally I find this part of Microsoft annoying.

Suppose I sit down and write software for my private amusement, but I neither
sell nor share it:

Microsoft says: "for Your personal creation of an originally authored work
(“Original Work”) and personal use of Your Original Work. This pledge is
personal to You and does not apply to the use of Your Original Work by others or
to the distribution of Your Original Work by You or others..."

In my layman capacity, I thought that if I did not and do not intend to
distribute nor profit, I am not breaking copyright/patent laws. (If no one
knows, the discussion is moot.)

The first part of this type of statement is usually followed with a 'but' and a
threat. Microsoft's PR people made the threat clear without using the word 'but'
- (I must give them credit for this.)

Open ended vague threats are the hallmark of attempted extortion from a bully.

Does Microsoft think that we are idiots?

---
Veritas Vincit - Truth Conquers

[ Reply to This | # ]

Non-Assertion of Patents Pledge
Authored by: Alan(UK) on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 04:25 PM EDT
What is the purpose of this pledge?

1) It sounds good to PHBs.

2) It upsets REAL developers and puts them in the position of leaving what they
are good at to point out to The World in General (who has absolutely no interest
in this) that Microsoft...[insert long complicated explanation].

3) It makes PHBs believe that Microsoft actually HAS some valid and relevant
patents.

4) It divides developers into two classes: those for whom it is a hobby, and,
those for whom it is gainful employment. The former are mere enthusiasts who are
permitted to play with their toys; while the latter are professionals - who need
to be properly licenced by Microsoft. PHBs understand this.

The long-term problem for Microsoft is that the PHBs will only continue to
support (support==$$$$) them while specifying Microsoft is seen to be the
'correct' option by the other PHBs. Unfortunately for Microsoft, PHBs cannot
say, 'We are upgrading to Vista.' in front of other PHBs. They could say, 'We
are evaluating our strategy for a possible future rollout of Vista.' Or perhaps,
if they really want to show off, 'We may wait for the next version rather than
make an incremental upgrade at the present time.' Of course, in such an
atmosphere, it will only be a matter of time before one PHB lets slip the fact
that he has allowed one of his junior subordinates to evaluate a Linux desktop
for non-mission-critical operations. Before long the PHBs will be falling over
themselves to claim how extensive their use of Linux is and how they predicted
that it would displace Windows.

---
Microsoft is nailing up its own coffin from the inside.

[ Reply to This | # ]

That was 2003. It's no longer valid
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 05:12 PM EDT

The paper was written in 2003. Why is it interesting now? If you want to know what will happen in 2008, you sit down and do some analysis now, using facts and statistics avaiable now. You don't ignore the last 4 years and dust off some old predictions made in 2003!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Check them patents!
Authored by: JamesK on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 06:08 PM EDT
As I mentioned before, it's time for all MS patents to be reviewed and
challenged. Perhaps Steve Ballmer will take the hint, when all his
"valuable" patents have been shot down in flames!

---
Let me know if you don't receive this message.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How Significant is Microsoft's "Protection"?
Authored by: joef on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 06:21 PM EDT
The definition of the "hobbyist" and his (her) allowed activities is
such that anyone in that category is pretty much "under the radar" as
for as MS's even having knowledge of any breach of a patent. It's about as good
as a pledge that if they don't know about it, they won't bother you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ, you're wrong this time
Authored by: sgtrock on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 06:23 PM EDT
Take this report in the proper context. The guts of it were written nearly 5
years ago. So, the real question should be, did GS accurately predict how the
market would be impacted?

I'd say that they've got a qualified success story to tell. Yes, Intel and AMD
did well from the downsized servers. Yes, Dell now sells a lot of Linux server
boxes, too. I'd say that they reasonably accurately what has happened to the
mixed bag (combined open and closed source companies) pretty well. Finally,
they were right about Red Hat continuing to dominate the U.S. market.

So, tell me: How does the quote that you chose demonstrate that they don't get
the market? I'd say they did remarkably well, better than many analysts'
predictions that I've read.

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ, whats the intent/spirit of the GPL?
Authored by: AndyP on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 08:16 PM EDT
I have a tip for them. If you want the community to code for you -- and you do, as that is the source of the money you want to make -- respect the terms of the GPL and its intent.

I saw that recently in another discussion about GPLv2/v3, Tivo and related themes. And there the same argument was raised, that its not enough to follow the letters of the GPL (like Tivo did), but one has also to follow the "spirit" of the GPL. And the spirit, as everyone could read in all the FSF papers and RMS statements, is to protect "the 4 freedoms" as defined by the FSF.

To me, that discussion raised two questions: if someone for instance states that according to the spirit the GPL a right to run a certain (modified) binary on a certain hardware platform is granted, but the GPL states explicitly that "Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope.". Wouldn't then the statement about any intentions and spirits completely null and void because of the "best evidence rule" i learned from the novell case?

And second, how can the intention of the license author be that important anyway? If i sell my house, and i get myself a laywer to setup a contract, how can the intent or opinion of the laywer be of interest? surely the intentions of the seller and buyer have weight, the laywer would be more like a "expert" who was involved in the creation of the contract, but his intent isn't that relevant, isnt it? Its the same with software, i write a piece of code, release it under a license, you accept that license and use the software, then we have a kind of a contract, and if later is something unclear, then intent and opinion of licensor and licensee would be of importance (and not the one who wrote the generic license), wouldn't it?

i hope you can clarify this ;)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Does the MS patent pledge really have an impact?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 08:32 PM EDT
I'm sorry but I think while PJ tried to apply the following:

suppose A
A implies B
B is bad. So A is bad.
The problem is that 'A implies B' is not necessarily true.
While it still maybe true that A is bad. (regardless of whether B is bad. For
the record I think B is bad).

Let me now put the text on this statements.

A is "The microsoft patent pledge existed when linux was first
developing"
B is "Linux could not have developed as it has"

The problem is for "A implies B' to be true Microsoft would have to have a
simi-valid pattent, decide to go after Linux(Linus), then start a cross country
lawsuit. The community would have to not come to support Linux (If the community
did them we would have something SCO-like much sooner, in my opinion).

In the process of this Linus would either fold and the knowledge that the patent
was valid would not be found out (but some in the press would presume the
patents were valid). Or Linus would not fold (now this means he had backing to
see the defence of lawsuit to completion -- otherwise he folded). Now the
patents would be found out to be valid or not.

If the patents were not valid than A become moot. In other worlds it's truth
value does not or should not cause B. (although not B itself but the fear around
B could be a problem but education for some will remove that) If the patents
were valid then code would be removed and if possible, simular (and perhaps
better) functionality would have to be put in place of the removed code (in 20
years or 14 the code could be put back in if a better solution had not been
found).

Now the continuing lawsuit 'plan' comes into play.
(It, MS starts the suit with one set of patents during the course of lawsuit
changes to newer patents. And intends to keep doing this)

This would become very obvious for what it was if all patents were found to be
invalidated but all the new patents MS applied for kept being used to attack,
But at slower rate than necessary. All a MS type might be able to do is keep the
question from being resolved but not resolved in their favor.(This does seem to
be an unfair outcome -- I'm waiting to see if this is possible. If SCO lawsuit
continues, or how it ends may answer this question).

The problem (for MS-types) in the US is the patent system is set up for the
public good. (Not for the creation of monopolies) So any one trying to use
patents has an up hill battle unless the patent is really non-obvious and new
and usefull (it should also be advertised exactly what it is) But this very
condition means open source developers should be able to elect not to use it (Or
they never would have independly come up with the same idea in either case the
patent would not be in the Open source software and the GPL conditions or OSI
approved licenee conditions could be given to users of the code!).

While it maybe true that A is independently bad. It attempts to devide developer
into two very unclear classes. (for example if I get an idea at work but develop
it in my free time. Provided it was ok with my employer. Which class do I now
fit in? This seem unclear to me. If you think this is clear just answer this
question what happens if I start using the code at work as part of my job but
only get paid for the results of my work not for use of or development of the
software. ) Of course the pledge only has meaning in the US if MS or someone
like MS has a valid patent that my code would use.

Note: I'm not as familiar with non US law, so some of this argument may not
apply outside the US. But I think it is all valid inside the US.

I would like everyone with valid patents (or even if they do not -- they only
think they do or know they do not have a valid patent) to clearly describe what
their patents are and where they are used without authorization. This would
avoid wasting people's time trying to figure out what is being claimed. (Do I
think 'patent' holder will do the above? I'm not sure. But I can still ask and
hope).

Note: MS and SCO while may apply to real companies. The terms are really
intended to apply to the whole class of corporations or individuals that fit
what appears to be the current behavior of theses individual entities.

a florida resident.

[ Reply to This | # ]

That's not a covenant, it's FUD.
Authored by: mobrien_12 on Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 09:55 PM EDT
"Microsoft hereby covenants not to assert Microsoft Patents against each
Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer (also referred to as “You”) for
Your personal creation of an originally authored work (“Original Work”) and
personal use of Your Original Work. This pledge is personal to You and does not
apply to the use of Your Original Work by others or to the distribution of Your
Original Work by You or others."

This is pure FUD. IF anyone wanted to write software as a hobby for themselves,
they don't need a covenant, even IF they did use patented ideas.



[ Reply to This | # ]

Linux not the GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, June 24 2007 @ 09:58 AM EDT
This paper says absolutely *nothing* with respect to the GPL. Corporate data
centers don't *redistribute* software.

Linux could be licensed under another open source license such as the BSD
license and it would't make any difference to them or their business model. What
influences them is the 'open source' and 'not Windows' part and not the GPL
license. Also the paper was written long before Microsoft's current patent
moves.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS patent pledge, an invitation to contaminate OSS?
Authored by: beserker on Sunday, June 24 2007 @ 10:52 AM EDT
After puzzling over the wording of MS's patent pledge, I believe that I'm
starting to see some of their true motives. The pledge itself says to lone
individual contributors "go ahead and freely use our IP without fear".
One (hoped for?) side effect of this would be to contaminate OSS projects with
MS IP and make then legally vulnerable at the community level (based on
individual contributors simply not paying attention to the legal issues). This
would legitimize the claims of infringement by "seeding" OSS projects
regardless of whether there was initially any infringment at all. Cunning...

---

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend,
Inside of a dog, its too dark to read."
- Groucho Marx

[ Reply to This | # ]

YAMP - Yet Another Missed Point
Authored by: sproggit on Sunday, June 24 2007 @ 04:23 PM EDT
I started writing this response with two points to make. The first was going to
point out how GNU/Linux, with it's inherent portability and compact efficiency,
could port to pretty much any hardware (from a wrist watch to an IBM zSeries
Mainframe) and, once there, run like the wind. But although corporates love
this, it's only secondary to the main reason.

So what's the main reason for the continued adoption of GNU/Linux?

We are.

Well, that large, largely ignored, and always under-estimated mass of IT
professionals who beaver away inside of large corporate, keeping the wheels of
industry turning.

You see, all across the world, in companies large and small, there are
specialists. Precisionists. People who take pride in their work and who love to
know and learn more, to explore, to find out knew things. In the IT Industry
these people are lovingly called geeks.

The thing is, it is the geeks of the world who came into work one day with a
home laptop running Linux and who showed the boss how they could download,
install, configure and depoy a web server, app server and databased in about 15
minutes, then ftp over some corporate application and have it hosted in another
10. It was a geek who sat there one day and wondered if it would be possible to
port Linux to an IBM OS/390 (zOS) mainframe, and then did it, just to see if he
could. It was another geek who decided to port it for the SPARC processor, and
the PowerPC, and the Acorn ARM, and all the others.

Now, large and powerful corporates like geeks. They like the fact that geeks can
fix their large, complex computer systems when they break. They like the fact
that geeks can also develop cheaper, better, faster solutions that give their
employers an edge over the competition. They love their geeks.


Yet this seems to be almost continually overlooked.

GNU/Linux isn't just a technical marvel, which it is.

GNU/Linux is the product of a whole new way of interacting. It is as much a
social phenomenon as it is a technical one. Yes, it is true that there are many
thousands of developers out there who code for GNU/Linux in order to have an
application that works the way they want.

But there are many more who do so because of the peer recognition and the
pleasure that they get from doing so. In that way, contributing to the use and
development of the GNU/Linux platform has become - is - a social phenomenon. But
it is a phenomenon in which the geek has come of age. Suddenly, for large
corporates, geekdom is cool.



Microsoft could no more stop developers contributing to the GNU/Linux platform
than they could stop people using mobile telephone technology, or microwave
ovens, or their own personal transport.

The challenge to corporate adoption that Microsoft faces isn't one of
technology, it is one of psychology.

The battle here is for the hearts and minds of the geek. When I started working
in the industry, about 23 years ago, there were huge players like IBM and
computing was a large and corporate activity. Microsoft broke open the door to
the corporation by offering a solution that could be distributed across
organisations to many different people, at all levels of a business, instead of
being restricted to a small group of anoraks locked away in some based computer
room.

The world has turned. The revolutionary has become the despot and is being
toppled. That despot can - and is - trying to hold on to power by any means
possible. But just as Microsoft was swept into corporations on a wave of popular
uprising (and, don't laugh, the freedom that they offered line managers to take
control of their own data), so they are being displaced by a newer, smarter,
leaner and faster competitor, a competitor who has taken that freedom and
super-sized it to a whole new level.

It's common, in similar circumstances, to see the monopolists - dictators if you
like - try and cling to power through threats (hmm, what a coincidence) or
bribery (well, funny old thing) or actual intimidation or violence.

But after a while of this kind of thing, it's like a pressure cooker venting
steam and the whole thing just boils over. I suspect that Microsoft's future may
be a little like that. All the strategies in the world won't be enough to hold
back this head of steam now it has started.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Non-Assertion of Patents - The first American Settlers
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, June 24 2007 @ 11:53 PM EDT
When I red this I keep getting an image in my head of the first Settlers
arriving in America. The first thing they do is stick a flag in the ground
claiming the land for themselves, and then tell the Native Americans not to
worry as they do not intend to stop any of the Buffalo roaming across the
plains.

[ Reply to This | # ]

So snobby HP will have to adapt ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 25 2007 @ 06:18 AM EDT
That's not so bad i think.

Sorry, but whenever i had *any* dealings with HP they came over with that
snobby, patronizing "We know better what's good for you" attitude and
a hefty pricetag. No wonder they don't want anything to do with Linux, that's
for the unwashed masses.

Sure, IBM sells expensive hardware too. But there you pay (mostly) for quality,
not just the name. And IBM got on the Linux-Train in time.

If there was no Linux i'd take AIX over HP-UX every day (ok, well, DEC-OSF/1 is
even better and Cray UNICOS is not too bad, if a little paranoid). In fact i
hope some of the good AIX stuff makes it to Linux (once a judge decides that IBM
really may do as they like with the stuff they developped).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Goldman Sachs: Linux Will Dominate in the Corporate Data Center - and a Tip for Them
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 25 2007 @ 12:02 PM EDT
The paper is 4.5 years old:-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Goldman Sachs: Linux Will Dominate in the Corporate Data Center - and a Tip for Them
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 25 2007 @ 12:47 PM EDT
"Although we believe that Red Hat is well on its way to establishing a
definitive standard for enterprise Linux"

Very Ironic they didn't name Novell since they brokered the deal with microsoft
and novell I thought they would be at the top of any list they create.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • ironic? - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 25 2007 @ 02:18 PM EDT
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