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MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 02:12 PM EDT

So, negotiations between Red Hat and Microsoft appear to be ongoing in the media. Hahahaha. Get real.

Here's what I think is happening. Get a load of this description of the strategy from Microsoft VP for IP Marshall Phelps:

At a keynote at Red Herring East on Thursday, Phelps explained the slow shift in attitude and valuation of patents that corporate patent spectators have been watching from the sidelines for the past few years.

He spoke about the increasing practice of using patent licensing agreements as a way for companies, and companies and universities, to pool resources and share research without losing rights, or with an agreement to share rights or revenue made off of the technology.

"For those of you in VC, this is going to be a radical departure. We used to define competitive advantage as 'I've got and you don't.' Or 'You've got it, but I got better.' Well, today it's 'You got it and I got it, but I make money when you use it," said Phelps explaining the shift to a strong emphasis on companies licensing out their patented technology.

So, let's see. How does this work? "I got it and you got it but *I* make money when you use it." Who wouldn't want that? Um... Red Hat. Why not, Microsoft beguiles. I'll tip you. And, by the way, I won't interoperate with you unless you agree. Oh, and Microsoft adds, if we assume a similarity to the Novell deal, we get to alter and control your development model and your license -- you have to agree we step over or around it somehow. And you can't just let all those end users and downstream folks do whatever they are used to doing. They have to sit in paid seats. No sharing. Or else we can sue them.

In other words, in my translation, Microsoft is refusing to interoperate well unless FOSS agrees to these patent deals, not just so it can collect money, but so it can get your brains to work for them. It also achieves a goal of FOSS costing more. Ever hear of the Microsoft tax? And it also allows Microsoft to put its heavy thumb on FOSS and reset its terms. You don't want to code for Microsoft and share your skills and your money? Don't wish to give up control or change your development model? Then they'll maybe sue you, and for sure they won't interoperate with you well. Only sellouts get to interoperate really well. What's that smell? Antitrust, maybe?

If you think I'm making that part up about wanting FOSS to code for Microsoft, here's Mr. Phelps again:

Microsoft has abandoned the fortress mentality around its intellectual property and is opening up channels of collaboration, including licensing to startups, the software giant’s licensing chief said Wednesday.

Speaking at the annual venture conference of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development at North Carolina ’s Research Triangle Park, Marshall Phelps said that even a $7.5-billion annual research budget fails to deliver all the pieces to Microsoft.

“Few, if any, companies can hold all the pieces of R&D in their own hands,” he said. “The days of go-it-alone R&D labs are over.”...

Likewise, contrary to the “myth” that Microsoft uses patents to bludgeon competitors, Mr. Phelps, deputy general counsel for intellectual property, said the company is seeking to use intellectual property to form alliances. “Proprietary software is not going away, open source is not going away.” Though licensing accounts for only .0025 percent of the company’s annual revenue, “as a vehicle for cooperation with other firms, it’s worth its weight in gold.”

They have patents (they claim) and FOSS has the brains. So they want to "use" their patent threats to force FOSS programmers to code for them. Or else. They have a demonstrated inability to write compelling software nowadays, I'd say. It's kind of like the university arrangement they've used for a long time -- the universities do the research, and then Microsoft makes the money. You did notice that all three who signed on the dotted line now code for Microsoft, didn't you?

Well, that's business the Microsoft way, their idea of what's fair.

I told you they wanted your brains. That and the death of the Open Source model in the enterprise space, as those dudes call it, and to prostitute the GPL, if it refuses to die.

But I see some stealth legal tricks. Remember the deal SCO successfully complained to the EU Commission about in the '90s, whereby it had to pay Microsoft forever for stuff they didn't want and that hobbled their ability to innovate the way they wanted? It took Santa Cruz a while to wake up and realize the legal game was not working for them and that Microsoft was controlling them to their detriment in the marketplace.

I think that there is another submarine tactic afoot. Read Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Non-Compensated Developers. That is the submarine intended to kill FOSS as we know it, I believe. They want to force vendors to stupidly agree that their best coders can't code for them any more or can only code on Microsoft's terms. Or else. And you wonder why Red Hat resists?

The real question is why Novell would sign such a deal.

Microsoft, I discern, would like it if there never again was a Linux, in short, and I guess they figure they have more money than anyone else and enough lawyers to blacken the skies anywhere on earth, so they apparently think they can force the deals with patent threats, litigation being about as pleasant a prospect as a root canal. It's worse when they have more lawyers and more money than you do.

Red Hat isn't willing to be muscled, though, and neither is Ubuntu or Mandriva, nor should they have to be. Why not? Well, there are rules for monopolies. You can't actually muscle your competition past a point without that awful antitrust smell resulting in some investigatory problems. The EU Commission has made it clear that Microsoft is supposed to share specifications with the FOSS players so interoperability becomes a non-issue. Period.

I think Microsoft would prefer to muscle some patent-linked deals they can present as an alternative to the Commission looking at this. But here's a description of what is *not* a true partnership: I'm a monopoly, and I say sign here or I'll kill your business with stupid patent litigation you can't afford and I can.

Anyway, I think it's too late for Microsoft. They came up with this patent threat strategy before the Supreme Court ruled on KSR. Microsoft's patent licensing, dream ...depends on the patents being valid and something the other side actually wishes to use and can't work around. Post KSR, I find that a doubtful proposition. Now Microsoft is frantically trying to sign people up for the old dream before everyone wakes up and notices that the entire patent landscape has changed.

In any case, Red Hat can't sign a Novell-like patent deal, even if it did want to, which it doesn't, thanks to the GPLv3. Thank you for that, by the way, all you GPLv3 authors. So even were it tempted, it can't happen ever again.

As for Linux-Watch's breathless predictions, hey, that's who predicted Ubuntu would be next to embrace Microsoft's patent deal offer. Also, it's not true, according to my sources, that Red Hat talks broke down because of the Novell deal being announced. Extrapolate.


MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No. | 373 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: JamesK on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 02:17 PM EDT
When will people learn that you can't deal with MS??? Just work around them as
best you can.

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off-Topic here, please
Authored by: meshuggeneh on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 02:20 PM EDT
And, happy 4th for the Ami's.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Money makes all the FUD, Re: MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: martimus on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 02:24 PM EDT

Somehow their billions laying around has to be drained away from them. The only reason we continue to have to deal with this stuff is that even with failure after failure, threat after threat, FOSS proponents exposing their FUD time and again, they still have more billions to fund the next strategem. Even when they are the ones who lose or settle patent infringement case after case. They can still make the fix in Mass, and subvert Linspire et al. I don't know the answer, except to keep shining the light on their actions, but, really this get old.

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin: Billions for defense, but not one cent for dhimmitude.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 02:24 PM EDT
I wish I could say I told you so...I went off about M$ wanting Free programmers
but to own and profit off the effort, long ago, look for messages signed

I translate the message from M$ as they are going to remake the movie
"1984" and Uncle Billy will star as "Big Brother". Got it.

- wb -

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: Wol on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 02:29 PM EDT
They have patents (they claim) and FOSS has the brains.

If FLOSS has the brains, how did MS get the patents in the first place?

Boom! Boom!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 02:31 PM EDT
You wrote
They came up with this patent threat strategy before the Supreme Court ruled on KSR
Could you elaborate? What is the KSR ruling about?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • KSR - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 03:10 PM EDT
  • KSR - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 03:10 PM EDT
  • KSR v Teleflex - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 03:15 PM EDT
  • KSR - Authored by: tknarr on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 03:17 PM EDT
and RHat cannot bring a declaratory judgement suit because MS has said they won't sue
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 03:02 PM EDT
Isn't that nice of MS?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Badlands
Authored by: fudnutz on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 03:12 PM EDT
The horses were tiring, but they were still on schedule. They hadn't seen
anyone with just a few miles left to the ford. He hated this stretch. The
woods and hills were close here with many turns. He didn't know what he was
carrying. He hoped it was nothing special.

Just out of a sharp turn he saw a rider ahead stopped and facing them. He
immediately stopped and looked for a place to turn. There was no way out. He
looked to the side but he couldn't see the horses he heard coming. They
couldn't run. "Ease up." he whispered to the guard. He knew and
pointed his rifle up.

A Mexican walked out of the woods with crossed bandoliers, a rifle slung over
his shoulder and two holstered pistols. He patted the third horse and gestured
at the driver and guard to get down. He pulled out his left pistol and opened
the door. "Get down." Three men stepped out.

He looked in the coach. He climbed to the roof and checked the cargo. He
waved to the woods and three men ran out on foot. He came down and faced the
driver, guard and passengers. "Do you want to share patents?"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Those are good news
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 03:19 PM EDT
In fact, I was expecting a patent war one of these days. It seems that Sun and
IBM made them think it twice.

All the threat now is "we will not interoperate", and they have never
do and RHAT is thriving anyway.

I think this news are good news.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What's TRULY funny is all the interoperability has been done
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 03:54 PM EDT
with no help from MS.

And you can bet your life, MS interoperability products will NEVER work well

[ Reply to This | # ]

WOOT !!! WOOT !!!! - are these the same interoperability patents that the EU's 3rd party ruled
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 03:56 PM EDT
had ZERO creativity?

Are these the same interoperability patents that the EU's 3rd party ruled

have ZERO innovation?

THAT'S what MS is touting? THOSE patents?


[ Reply to This | # ]

Given that choice ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 04:12 PM EDT

litigation being about as pleasant a prospect as a root canal

... I'll take the root canal, thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: Alan(UK) on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 06:08 PM EDT
There is something surreal about this - bordering on lunacy in fact.

Microsoft is being forced to make information available in the EU to allow
inter-operation. The alternative for Microsoft is to withdraw from Europe.
Microsoft, at the moment, is hoping this will go away - it won't.

If Microsoft is forced to allow inter-operation in the EU then it cannot stop it
in the rest of the world except the US. In the US it could use its patents. The
problem for Microsoft is that it cannot use its patents except by suing someone
- which leaves the patents open to being overturned.

Thus these patent deals are really irrelevant as far as inter-operation is
concerned. Microsoft's customers want to use Windows desktops with *nix servers.
Microsoft has gone out of its way to make this difficult - making things
difficult for your customers is not a good way to make friends and influence
people. Its customers may not be able to walk away from Microsoft today, but it
does not mean they are not looking forward to the day when they can. The big
problem for Microsoft is that if they make inter-operation between Windows on
the desktop and *nix on the server difficult, the possibility of using Linux on
both becomes rather attractive.

Microsoft may eventually find itself in the position of having to inter-operate
with other systems just for its own survival. The problem for Microsoft is that
once a (former) customer has changed over to an all-Linux solution, it is going
to be almost impossible to win them back because Microsoft is incompatible with
just about every known standard. Microsoft will be stuck with trying to reclaim
the prevaricators who thought that they could run a system with a bit of Linux
and a bit of Microsoft. In other words the customer Microsoft is currently
trying to kill off.

I think Microsoft's only strategy, as far as I can see, is to be seen to be
running around making deals left, right, and centre in the short term hope of
delaying things; and the long term hope that it will all go away - it won't.

Microsoft is nailing up its own coffin from the inside.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 06:15 PM EDT
PJ said:
The real question is why Novell would sign such a deal.
Here is my research on the topic. This is a repost of a comment from a month ago. The information was extracted from the then recently published SEC filing.

On the decline of Netware the SEC filing said:

Workspace solutions decreased in fiscal 2006 compared to fiscal 2005 primarily due to a decrease in our combined NetWare-related/OES revenue and declines in our installed base, offset somewhat by the release of OES in the middle of the second quarter of fiscal 2005. NetWare and NetWare-related revenue combined with OES revenue decreased $49.4 million or 18% in fiscal 2006 compared to fiscal 2005. We expect year over year declines for combined NetWare-related revenue and OES revenue to continue in the same range during fiscal 2007.

Workspace solutions revenue decreased in fiscal 2005 compared to fiscal 2004 primarily due to a decline in combined NetWare/OES revenue of $22.6 million and decreased collaboration revenue of $4.1 million.

Open Entreprise server sales numbers:

2004: not yet on the market
2005: $ 85,331,000
2006: $181,695,000

Netware related sales:

2004: $301,441,000
2005: $193,549,000
2006: $ 47,779,000

OES is the Linux-based version of Netware file and print services. So if we total OES and Netware we get:

2004: $301,441,000
2005: $278,880,000
2006: $229,474,000

On the Linux revenue increases

Open platform solutions remained flat in fiscal 2006 compared to fiscal 2005 as the increases in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and our Linux desktop product sales were offset by declines in the SUSE Linux consumer product.

Open platform solutions revenue increased in fiscal 2005 compared to fiscal 2004 due primarily to an increase of $16.8 million in sales of our SUSE Linux Enterprise Server products.

Looking at the actual sales values for Linux platform products:

2004: $19,309,000
2005: $35,836,000
2006: $45,296,000

What I understand is the decline of Netware and Netware related products is larger than the total Linux platform sales.

I also understand the Microsoft deal is more than six times the total annual sales of Novell's Linux platform products and 1.5 times their Netware/OES revenue. I now understand better how Microsoft could have Novell ensnared into this deal. They offered enough money to make them lose track of the big picture.

I still have to figure out if the Microsoft payment for the vouchers is conditional to the actual sale of the vouchers or deferred until the voucher is sold.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft is the only patent troll selling software.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 06:59 PM EDT
Everybody else IBM, Sun, Apple, etc. signs cross licensing deals where they
simply agree not to sue each other - ie. they will only use patents
defensively. Microsoft was offered such a patent cross licensing deal by OIN but
refused it.

Microsoft is the only software distributing company trying to extract money from
patents, all other patent trolls don't distribute software. Makes you wonder how
long it will be before Microsoft goes the way of SCO, Microsoft's test run for
it's patent troll business model.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 07:26 PM EDT
There are two types of company that have signed deals with
MS, those that regret it, and those that will.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Embrace. Extend. Exterminate...
Authored by: mtew on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 07:28 PM EDT
(Misquote is deliberate...)

While this phrase has been current for a while, it is only fairly recently that
PHBs have realized that it is true (and a good many still don't believe it).

____Microsoft has abandoned the fortress mentality around
____its intellectual property and is opening up channels of
____collaboration, including licensing to startups...

To paraphrase -- "Come on lettle girl, take the nice candy. I'm not going
to hurt you...". Yeah, Right. Just like last time... It certainly smells
like one of their toxic offers from here.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft can have a patent deal with OIN and Patent Commons
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 07:44 PM EDT
Open Invention Network Patent License Agreement

Microsoft can have a patent deal with OIN and Patent Commons ... here are the terms:

"Open Invention Network believes that one of the keys to innovation in the Linux community is the ability to share software code and ideas. Open Invention Network acquires patents and makes them available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System."

After Microsoft have made the patent deal with OIN and the Patent Commons (involving a royalty-free excahnge of patents on both sides and a covenant not to sue), then they can do an interoperability technical exchange with RedHat. That would be sweet ... and those are the reasonable terms.

Microsoft offer no product for Linux. Until such time as Microsoft offer product for Linux, Microsoft cannot charge users for Linux. When and if Microsoft offer some product for Linux, then and only then is it reasonable to charge people for it, and even then they can charge only for Microsoft's product, not anyone else's code.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Time For A New "Business" Model
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 09:03 PM EDT
Isn't it time for a new business model for the FOSS software industry (for those
who don't want to subjugate themselves to Microsoft or Apple)? Perhaps it's
already happening and I just don't know about it.

Could be - all FOSS "software programmers/software developers/software
designers etc." form a cooperative company (make software cooperatively -
then why not “market” cooperatively.)

The cooperative could market/sell products by bidding on formal tenders to
governments/schoolboards/hospitals/businesses/computer manufacturers and so on.
Or market 20 year contracts to the above - "we will look after your
software needs for the next 20 years".

Work on an "open books" approach with clients. Which means all clients
can come and look at the “costs” for any product. The "Briar Patch"
which consists of 1500 small different businesses, has been in operation for 20
plus years (still?). Most members agree to the open books policy to clients and
other Briar Patch members (even competitors!) - and help each out in one way or
another. Small business as a lifestyle!

Some sort of rational remuneration would be established for everyone involved
(if they wanted to be remunerated). Perhaps a 5% mark up would be established on
top of all costs (which could be zero); for marketing/education purposes.

Could have 5,000, 10,000 or more programmers and software designers gainfully
employed - while school boards, hospitals, governments and so on would save

Just tossing out one possible scenario into the ring.

[ Reply to This | # ]

All the threat now is "we will not interoperate",
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 09:04 PM EDT
One of the core business strategies at MS is to not interoperate. MS has no
desire to interoperate in any meaningful way.

If you interoperate someone else can make money in the IT market. This prevents
the prime business strategy: "100% market share is adaquate". There is
no way that MS will interopearte in any way that will cost them sales or

A second point is that when you interoperate you have a much harder time
acheiving lock-in. Lock-in is key to maintaining the monopoly. There is no way
that MS will ever deliberately weaken its lock-in.

Third, MS can interoperate whenever it likes. Everything it could possibly need
to interoperate is publically available and free for the taking. Further, with
7.5 Billion USD annual R&D budget there is no reason that it can't do the
work itself.

Remember the golden oldie: DOS ain't done till Lotus won't run. Oh yes, and the
kerberos extensions, and AD instead of LDAP, and the patented spam email filter.
The list goes on and on...

You don't change the spots on a leopard.

[ Reply to This | # ]

One question, Groklawers
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 09:09 PM EDT
OK, if I recall rightly the Microsoft patent peace deal with the end-user
stipulates that the user is NOT allowed to pass on the patent protection to
anyone he gives a copy of Linux to. Since GPLv3 got published all the GPLv2 or
later code is now covered with exactly the opposite stipulation. So who wins?
The irresistable force meets the immovable object, no? Something's got to give.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Partial interoperability
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 04 2007 @ 10:33 PM EDT
It seem that MS only want interoperability which give advantage to them. If MS
really want full interoperability then why they revise / change their network
protocol and in the same time encourage document interoperability ?.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS: We'll only interoperate if ... oh, hello EU courts! No, we didn't mean anything...
Authored by: xtifr on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 12:58 AM EDT

The threat to not interoperate rings somewhat hollow in light of the EU's ongoing insistence that MS document how their systems work so that others (i.e. we) can interoperate. At most, MS might not actively pursue interoperability from their side, but anything they do to obstruct interoperability from our side is surely going to land them in even more hot water with the EU courts. Frankly, I'm not sure how much we need MS to interoperate with us as long as they comply with the EU's demands, and make it easy for us to interoperate with them. Eventually (before very much longer), I think they'll need and want to actively interoperate with us in any case. Ignoring FLOSS/Linux is kind of like ignoring the Internet and the World Wide Web (which they tried for a while). It's simply not going to work for them long-term.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for it makes them soggy and hard to light.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections thread
Authored by: gopherbyrd on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 02:26 AM EDT
I didn't see one yet.

It makes things easier if you point out the correction in the title.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Publish and be damned
Authored by: JD on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 04:04 AM EDT
Wouldn't this be a good time for the patent numbers in OSRM Linux
patent study
to be published? Wouldn't that turn the heat up on
Microsoft and force
Microsoft's hand? After the catharsis
Microsoft would be neutralized and
insurance costs would go down.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Our hopes are pinned on Red Hat, but Red Hat will cave in
Authored by: devil's advocate on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 06:31 AM EDT
Money talks. They will cave in in the end, just like Novell did. After that,
Linux and the GPL will look very weak. The party will be over. No more
coding for the community. "Oh you gave it away, don't you remember?
You didn't want any money for your work, now did you? Well, we do."

[ Reply to This | # ]

I Think I Have Truly And Officially Gone Linux
Authored by: TheBlueSkyRanger on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 07:48 AM EDT
Hey, everybody!

Rereading Nichols' column prompts an interesting observation about myself. He
says that, for some people, it's important to, say, watch Windows Media under
Linux and such, and these deals make business sense.

I have been branching out my Linux stuff. I note with considerable interest
that lately, when it comes to a lot of apps, if there isn't a Linux version, I
simply skip it. There's some things I put up with like non-critical apps (read
that: Diner Dash) being Windows only, but I'm quite ready to do without. I
hate working with WMA anyway.

So I don't think it's a question of things working. A basic Linux set-up for
e-mail and word processing and such worked fine for me when I was first
switching over. It's not that there weren't alternatives, I just didn't need
alternatives, what I was using was just fine.

Just thinking that skipping some things because they are Windows only and no
Linux version tells how much I prefer Linux or detest Windows. Sure, I can't,
say, watch streaming videos of Mythbusters. Oh, well, that's what my VHS (yes,
I still have one) is for.

Dobre utka,
The Blue Sky Ranger

[ Reply to This | # ]

Good Morning, Mr. Phelps, your Mission...
Authored by: Prototrm on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 09:11 AM EDT truly impossible. This is one competitor you won't be able to buy out or
snuff out just like that. You're dealing with more than just one or two
companies this time.

"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the
exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them."

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Cool! n/t - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 12:16 PM EDT
Sorry to get political
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 12:27 PM EDT
But enforcement of antitrust law is still a function of political will. A quick
survey of which candidates and parties are using which web server software will
show where the political will to take on the monopolies lie.

Just as the Supreme Court carefully decides which cases to take on (by justice
vote), the Attorney General carefully decides which cases to bring and pursue.

The good news is that politics in this great land can be easily influenced by
simple snail mail letters to legislators. The more the better. There are
_LOTS_ of folks that read Groklaw. Sharpen your pencils!

-- Alma

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: PolR on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 12:49 PM EDT
I recall having read somewhere a Microsoft employee or ex-employee describing
one of the tactics Microsoft uses to break the competition. Sorry I don't recall
the source so I can't provide a link. If someone can help, please do so.

The tactics was to look at the competitor's business model and identify some
underlying untold assumptions. Then do something that break the assumptions so
the business model wouldn't work anymore. An example is BeOS. They had an
assumption that their OS could be distributed in dual boot configuration by
OEMs. Microsoft broke the assumption by locking down the boot loader with their
OEM licensing contracts. BeOS assumption was broken and their business model
went down the drain.

Reading this article, it looks like Microsoft targets the assumptions underlying
the FOSS development model to make sure it doesn't work. Whether they want to
use our brains for free or force users in paid seats is just icing on the cake.
Their real goal might be breaking some assumption somewhere so the FOSS
development model doesn't work anymore. Once it stops working, the technology
won't evolve et will eventually wither and die.

Anyone has other examples of Microsoft dirty tricks that targeted the
competitors assumptions? Looking at examples might be instructive.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: gbl on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 01:51 PM EDT
Is it just me, or is Microsoft beginning to sound just a tad desperate?

If you love some code, set it free.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Red Hat can't sign
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 01:55 PM EDT
You Said:

In any case, Red Hat can't sign a Novell-like patent deal, even if it did want
to, which it doesn't,

Which is of course, blatantly untrue. There is (as yet) no GPL3 code in RH, nor,
as far as I can see any prospect of any in the near future.

Long term of course that *may* change, but I see nothing to suggest it will be
any time soon.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 03:05 PM EDT
Having a business deal with Microsoft is like going to bed
with a serial killer. The risk that your "partner" will
just take over your niche in the market is just too high.

IMO people who write and/or sell support for GPL code should
answer any Microsoft's deal offer with just two word:


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The architect's vista
Authored by: cybervegan on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 04:21 PM EDT
A customer of mine recently bought a new computer to replace his ageing windows
98 box which had died, and he asked me to set it up for him...

The unit is a fairly ordinary middle range desktop PC with a very tasty 22"
wide screen lcd display. Out of the box, vista failed to recognise the standard
PS/2 keyboard, but that was strangely fixed by rebooting the PC.

With the initial personalisation step complete, I set up an appropriately named
admin user and a regular user for day-to-day work. The wireless card went in
without a hitch.
The USB inkjet printer was recognised automatically. The installation of office
2007 was slow but easy. So far so good - still too many reboots for my liking,
but passable.

The first problem was the CAD program. It uses a dongle, a parallel dongle. The
new machine has no parallel port, nor any serial ports, so the plotter and the
digitiser tablet are not usable either.

I left with a list of research items, and the customer was to phone the CAD
software company to ask if it would work on vista (be both knew this was a long

On my return visit, I had news that the plotter is apparently not supported by
vista, though the XP driver might work, and some info on a parallel-serial-IO
card. I transplanted the hard disk from the old machine into the new one and
transferring the gentleman's files from the old win 98 disk to the new PC was
surprisingly easy - he had this ultra-organised directory structure in which he
kept all his work, the disk mounted easily and the data was transferred in a
matter of minutes. The vista security confirmation prompts were merely annoying
(and often duplicated other prompts), but did not cause any real problems.
office 2007 seems to read all the documents fine.

The customer told me that he was advised to upgrade to the latest version of the
CAD software, as his old version is no longer supported.

As I leave, we arrange for the gentleman to buy the IO card, and phone me when
it's arrived.

On my most recent visit, I fitted the IO card. It didn't come with vista
drivers, but vist recognised it, and installed its own. However, it didn't work
- two separate classes of device showed up in device manager, a "multi
function IO device" and the parallel and serial ports themselves, which
were suffering a resouce conflict. A resource conflict with... the multi
function device. No amount of tweaking or PCI slot swapping helped, and nor did
any tech support offered by the company that sold the card.

So the card is going back, and the plotter still won't work. Next try is to use
an old rescued jet-direct card with a crossover lead. Next we'll probably find
that vista doesn't support TCP/IP v4... ;-)

The annoying thing is, that I'm pretty sure that had we been using linux all
along, none of this would have mattered; the parallel/serial card would have
worked, the cad program would have worked, and the digitiser would have worked
(if it had been supported in the first place).

That's progress.


Software source code is a bit like underwear - you only want to show it off in
public if it's clean and tidy. Refusal could be due to embarrassment or shame...

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"They have a demonstrated inability to write compelling software nowadays, I'd say. "
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 04:24 PM EDT
So far in my career, I would say that >all< Microsoft
software has been "compelling", in that every time I
have to run any of it, I am compelled to gag. Nasty,
bloated, stupid, buggy, and no way to fix it. Since 1976
or so, I've been trying as hard as I can to avoid it.

Some pals of mine implemented a *nix thingy that ran
fine on a Z80, but it never went commercial so that didn't
give relief. Then there was Xenix (ugh), SCO (woof), etc.
down the line until that breath of fresh air, Minix.
Bought the book, hacked the kernel, loved it. GCC,
Linux, OO, etc now give me what I wanted to begin with,
fast small useful open software I can change if it doesn't
do what I want.

Unfortunately, many clients still insist on Windows
compatibility for legacy and marketability reasons,
so I can't entirely get away from it, but thank
heavens nobody's demanding Vista yet.

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Red Hat Claims It Wanted To Talk Interoperability With Microsoft, Just Not Patents
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 04:43 PM EDT

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MS: We'll only interoperate if you sign a patent deal. Red Hat: No.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 05:25 PM EDT
boy redhat will be missing all the products with interoperability that are
flying out of redmond as we speak

I really like how microsoft thinks of the customer and gives them results in the
form interoperability products.

I am just really enjoying all the products that are a result of these deals - it
a miracle.

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It's only 0.0025% of revenue, but...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 08:38 PM EDT much do patents *cost* MS?

I'd be interested in seeing that particular comparison.

And, of course, direct licensing revenue is dwarfed by revenue on products that
are protected from competition by patents, due to proprietary file formats and
the like.

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