One of our goals in BoycottNovell is to disspell myths and expose people whom Microsoft pays to discredit Linux in the media. Novell has suffered from such tactics over the years and its interviews in the press, which sometimes reveal a predatory attitude, do them no favour.
I wish not to link at the ‘article’ I’ve just found (that would be a case of feeding the troll), but I only wish to describe what has become gross (mis)use of the mainstream press to serve corporate agenda. I will post a followup item shortly, just to support this argument. I have plenty of evidence to show that what people perceive as “the news” is often “the agenda”.
A: [Microsoft] “The latest draft of the GPLv3 attempts to tear down the bridge that Microsoft and Novell have built between proprietary and open source software…
Microsoft relies on its deal with Novell and the loophole it has found in GPLv2. Its endless attacks on GPLv3 are solid proof of this. It’s the GPLv3 that makes Microsoft very scared.
Delivering balanced news is fine. What’s most disturbing, however, are endless ‘placements’ in mainstream media, which is an issue worth tackling and exploring here (and I shall do this in days to come). They tried to create a lot of scare which would surround the 5 characters G-P-L-V-3. Some observers, developers, and customers are still afraid as a result.
There was a huge, coordinated FUD campaign. OSDL’s head, Stuart Cohen, is said to have lost his job after he pitched to Lyons of Forbes, before the article “The man [RMS] who will kill Linux” showed up (seems to have been retitled “Toppling Linux” since then). Lyons is an infamous Microsoft/SCO shill (Groklaw can grant him the ‘certificate’) that can barely get his writings published by Forbes nowadays (his recent Forbes article linked to our Web site in a negative context, but then again, so did Spiegel). He is not alone. Maureen O’Gara has already lost her job as a journalist after spying and manipulating press releases in order to damage Free software. ACT does a lot of the ‘legwork’ too. This is concerning. It led me to the point of this interlude-type post.
Only moments ago I caught Rob “Shill” Enderle paying for a press release that spread more FUD about anti-Linux litigation. This may indicate that no longer is he able to have his ‘articles’ (lies) submitted to the press, so he just pays (probably Microsoft’s money) to have his stuff ‘injected’ and plugged into the PR wires. Recently he did the same things to warn Dell about these ‘cheap’ Linux users. It was a press release, not an article, of which he used to have more. It isn’t the first time he sticks labels,and stereotypes ,characterising Linux users as ‘zealots’ or even comparing them to terrorists in the press.
If you identify something suspicious which seems like a self-serving placement in the Web, please let us know. Together, we can help eliminmate or at least reduce the level of disinformation.
SCO failed, so now Microsoft has to do the heavy lifting itself to undermine open source software’s legitimacy. Actually, Microsoft prefers to undermine Red Hat’s legitimacy. Or OpenXchange’s. Or your company’s.
But Microsoft has not given any further details, such as the exact patent numbers and the features or programs that infringe. Were Microsoft to provide those details or to actually file a patent infringement lawsuit based on them, things would get interesting. Without that information, there’s nothing but FUD here.
“One (unnamed) Microsoft employee once told me that most of the people on the ground, doing development out with customers really do get-it but Microsoft have suffered from a disconnected management clique. I am beginning to see where this person is coming from.”
See how Microsoft became a victim of exactly what it tries to achieve here. Vague and unspecific infringements were being claimed quite recently.
Speak to anyone outside of Microsoft who knows anything about Microsoft’s claim that Linux software violates 42 of its patents and most of them agree – Microsoft is running scared. Many believe that Microsoft’s public announcement smacks of desperation and is a risky move by a company that has run out of ideas.
First, to reiterate, as a customer I am completely uninterested in buying something from a vendor, and then paying every other vendor in the space a license to their possible additional but unproved patents. I’m not even interested in licensing their PROVED patents. Patents are vendor to vendor discussions. To make sure the license wonks in Microsoft Legal and Corporate Affairs understand what I mean: As a customer, when I buy my Xerox copier, I do not intend to additionally license patents from HP, Canon, Epson, or ANY other copier manufacturer. I buy solutions from my vendors, and I expect value for money. I am uninterested in your protection shakedown. Move on. The bullying of customers stops now.
Microsoft, no longer the technological leader in the Computer Desktop market, is taking on a terrorist role in its attempt remain in power at all costs. (see the link to the CNN story below)
The tactic is intended to frighten current, and would be, free software users away from products that Microsoft just can’t compete with. It’s not a new tactic, but for the first time desperation is beginning to show.
And let us not forget the argument made by Linus. Microsoft is under great litigious threat as well. It goes both ways.
CRN: Last week, Dell talked a lot about Linux on the desktop and with respect to the Microsoft-Novell partnership. Is that a real potential growth area for Dell and its channel partners?
[MICHAEL] DELL: Linux has been around for quite some time, and on the server side Linux is well-established. On the client side, the opportunity is more emerging. We certainly see an enthusiast segment that is interested in Linux. We see some scientific and technical users. What we’re doing very much here is listening to what our users tell us. If we see demand there, we’re going to go and do our best to respond to it.
CRN: How would you describe Dell’s relationship with Microsoft?
DELL: Microsoft is one of our key technology partners.
CRN: Was there any blowback from Microsoft with respect to Dell’s Linux moves?
Last year, Michael Dell told SJVN that his company’s Linux dealings were none of Microsoft’s business. We are left wondering however. Why did he jump aboard the controversial Microvell bandwagon? This is damaging to Linux, maybe even to Dell.
The opinions expressed here are by no means criticism. We very much welcome Dell’s embarkment on the Linux desktop market (for low-end PCs, that is). We just wish he never gave the Microvell deal his blessing, no matter how implicit it was.
In the latest round of intimidation charades, Microsoft seems to respond to some claims made by Linus that Microsoft probably violated many patents.
Microsoft: If we’re violating IP, ‘we’ll take a license’
Now, courtesy of the same Microsoft public-relations representative who provided us press/blogger folks with Microsoft’s full statement on May 14 on its latest patent-infringement claims, here are a couple more Microsoft sound bites on this issue.
The company still seems to believe that it can impose innovation tax, as the following from Sun Microsystsms explains.
Last month, we were hit with two new patent troll cases. With each, there was no warning, no offer to license – just a lawsuit. And, who are these “aggrieved” plaintiffs? In the first case, the litigant is a company called “Exponential Systems”. Exponential alleges that our Sun Grid Compute Utility infringes their patents. So who is spuroAre they creators of competing technology? Do they invest in R&D? Do they create products and jobs that add value to society? Hard to tell, but I doubt it. All we know is that the original patents were owned by a company called “Hemisphere II Investments”, which then transferred the patents to Exponential for the grand sum of $5.
Seriously. We are being dragged into expensive litigation and this is all we know about the other party. Even more frustrating is that one of the primary goals of our Sun Grid is to drive down the cost of computing. I’ve written previously about this tax on innovation. This is a real example.
Software patents do not make sense. Nobody wants them or needs them, except those who try to protect a monopoly that can afford spurious paperwork.
Imagine how surprised we would be if half-truths, inconsistencies, or inaccuracies were involved. But no. It turns out that, in order for Microsoft to defend its anti-Linux case, it turned a report upside-down.
The author of a report used by Microsoft as evidence of open source patent infringement has said that his report means the opposite of what Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said it means.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is having some of its own patent ‘fun’. $1,500 million of Microsoft’s money is apparently not enough for Alcatel-Lucent. Let us wish them luck.
Alcatel-Lucent said in a court filing that $1.5 billion is not enough to properly compensate it for Microsoft Corp.’s infringement of two digital audio patents.
It has become clear that a patent system which is too lenient has fallen apart.
In less than a year, OIN has accumulated more than 100 strategic, worldwide patents and patent applications that span Web / Internet, e-commerce, mobile and communications technologies. These patents are available to all as part of the free Linux ecosystem that OIN is creating around, and in support of Linux. We stand ready to leverage our IP portfolio to maintain the open patent environment OIN has helped create.
Microsoft would prefer not to actually sue anyone, particularly a Linux user who’s also a Microsoft customer. “They’d have to name the patents then, and they’re probably happier with the FUD [fear, uncertainty, doubt] than with any lawsuit,” Torvalds predicted.
Andrew S Tanenbaum: A couple of years ago this guy called Ken Brown wrote a book saying that Linus stole Linux from me, from Minix, and therefore the intellectual property rights are unclear and therefore companies shouldn’t use Linux because I might sue them.
It later came out that Microsoft had paid him to do this — and I defended Linus. I wrote on my Web site saying that this guy Brown came through, visited me and I gave him the [correct] story.
This one story has a happy ending (except for Microsoft, which was caught red-handed).
Today, Pamela Jones (of Groklaw) has a little insight. Based on Jonathan Schwarz’s blog, she suspects that Microsoft may have tried to encourage Sun to sue Linux (the infamous ‘proxy manoeuvre’). Here is what Jonathan says…
Years back, Sun was under pressure in the market.
With business down and customers leaving, we had more than a few choices at our disposal. We were invited by one company to sue the beneficiaries of open source. We declined. We could join another and sue our customers. That seemed suicidal.
Notice that here you have the same dilemma that Microsoft (maybe even Novell) is now facing. Can they scrutinise their own customers? In any event, here is Pamela’s take, which relates to what got this impulsive post started.
PJ: This is interesting in its own right, but my paralegal hat on, I am also highlighting it for anyone thinking about an antitrust lawsuit someday. I’m wondering if Microsoft tried to get Sun to sue Linux end users. I don’t know if that is what he is alluding to here, but if I were in discovery, I’d surely investigate that possibility, as it could help show a pattern of using, or trying to use, surrogates to misuse litigation as an anticompetitive weapon.
Might Microsoft be pulling the same tricks in its fight against Google? It sure looks like it.
After a government- and monopoly-inspired period in which Microsoft had to pretend to be a gentle force for global good, the company is being forced to return to its ruthless roots. Ironically, it is doing this in part by decrying the unfair practices of a competitor and shamelessly sucking up to the Establishment.
As you may recall, Microsoft urged companies to sue Google over its YouTube content. Later on, Microsoft closed its YouTube equivalent (Soapbox) to subscribers because it had encountered and suffered from the same issues that earlier it decried. Need we even mention Microsoft’s attempt to shoot down the DoubleClick acquisition? Need we repeat Microsoft’s argument that Google is a monopoly? Where does hypocrisy begin and where does it end?