Mark Shuttleworth has been a stubborn opposer to Microsoft’s actions ever since the Novell deal had been struck. In a new interview with the South African press, Mr. Shuttleworth had the following words to add:
[Mark:] Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering. What Microsoft is doing with intellectual property is exactly the same. It’s a great company and I have great admiration for it, but this was not a well considered position.
[Question:] So you wouldn’t do a deal?
[Mark:] No, absolutely not. But the time will come when the folks at Microsoft who have a clear vision for the company as a participant in this community, rather than as a hostile antagonist, will win.
We recently said that Mr. Shuttleworth was wrong on patent threats and we stick with this stance, even though the interview suggests that he has not changed his mind. The Xandros and LG deals have apparently led to no reconsideration on his part.
It is also him who said that Microsoft would never take this to court. It is also him who ‘trolled’ the Opensuse mailing (depending on how you look at it). There was a lot more that he said at the time, but all in all, he consistently defends Free software, even if it means liaising with the so-called ‘purists’. It remains highly unlikely (if not altogether impossible) that Canonical will give in to Microsoft’s pressure. The same can be said about Red Hat. These two companies hold the large majority of Linux users on the desktop and the server, respectively. They are doing well financially, unlike Xandros, for example, which according to one source, said it “needed the money”. Deals with feeble distributors can never intimidate the core.