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06.12.07

Will We Ever See Oracle Battling Microsoft Over Linux FUD?

Posted in Database, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents, Red Hat at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Groklaw takes a look at the utter disrespect and arrogance Microsoft has shown ever since it began its assault on Free software. A long discussion follows, as one might expect.

So when Microsoft says it respects other people’s intellectual property, what everyone is thinking is, That’s not true. Microsoft doesn’t respect the GPL, and that’s other people’s property. Microsoft is just trying to kill off a competitor. Again.

Also worth quoting is the following exchange of words between SJVN and Woodford. The analogies and predictions will probably surprise you.

Warming up to his theme, Woodford continued, “So far Microsoft hasn’t revealed any legitimate claims of intellectual property infringement. Their strategy appears to be to coerce weak players in the Open Source space to fold. This is reminiscent of the play made by SCO a few years ago, which some say was financed by Microsoft. Maybe that was just their trial run.”

Then, he launches his main assault on the partnership, “I’m reminded of Neville Chamberlain waiving his agreement with Hitler in the air and declaring peace in his time. Linux vendors should be reminded that, if you give your lunch money to a bully, the bully does not go away. Who will have the cohones to just say no? The Linux community may not like the answer, but the only name that comes to mind is — Larry Ellison.”

Let us look at this scenario more closely. Back in March, Oracle joined the Open Invention Network, which is prepared to fight for Free software, if this ever becomes a necessity.

Here is another recent assessment, which seems to touch on some important amd related issues. It made a lot of sense at the time (posted in April).

What If Oracle’s move against Red Hat was not about Red Hat at all? What if it was in response to the Microsoft threat?

Mark Shuttleworth made the point that the difference between $0.00 and $0.01 is huge, at least perceptually. Whatever Oracle’s Windows market share today, that share will undoubtedly fall over the next few years as SQL Server continues to gain market share.

Oracle therefore needs to shore up its market share on Linux, which becomes easier the lower the price of Linux becomes. Price aside, tying Linux into the Oracle database and applications in a similar way to how Microsoft ties its products into Windows makes a lot of sense.

Red Hat, then, could be a casualty in a larger fight: the fight between Oracle and Microsoft.

Massachusetts Lobbying Under the Micros[cope|oft]

Posted in America, Formats, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

You might still recall a long discussion which contained plenty of anti-ODF lobbying examples. Among the outcomes, two CIOs in Massachusetts lost their job, simply because they supported truly open standards on behalf of their State. At the end, Microsoft’s arm was on top.

The end of this story is not a happy ending. As a news article revealed yesterday, implementation of plans that are based on legistlation have been nearly scraped. It would be interesting to know how great a role Novell played in Microsoft’s political arguments in favour of monoculture and lockin.

And Microsoft itself lobbied heavily against the original open formats policy after it was announced by the ITD.

[...]

The slower-than-planned adoption of ODF in Massachusetts appears to have influenced state legislators in Texas who recently quashed a bill calling for the use of open document formats — one of five such proposals that have been defeated or shelved in the U.S. this year following strong opposition from Microsoft and its allies in the IT industry.

Some of the more recent lobbying examples, accompanied by Novell’s blind obedience, have done the industry no favours. Citizens of Massachusetts, for example, might still be forced to purchase Microsoft Windows and the latest Microsoft Office in order to access vital information.

“Open Source“ to USPTO’s Rescue?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Patents at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BetaNews editors have apparently found a nice slant. They decided to describe the revised system for patent applications as an ‘Open Source’ approach. Would it not be ironic if one of the biggest victims of this system turned out to have justified and assisted that very same broken system? Here is how it works:

The goal is to expedite the discovery of “prior art” – creations that existed before the applicant for a patent claimed he invented them. If successful, the Peer-to-Patent Web site could become a kind of SourceForge for intellectual property integrity.

Herein, there seems to be a gentle implication that an open source approach simply works better. It assists innovation and combats duplication. Reviewers realise and acknowledge this. Meanwhile, over here in Europe, an internal document has been leaked. It reveals that even those who are inside the system are overly skeptical. Have a look at this article from The Register:

European Patent Office (EPO) staff have “worryingly low” levels of trust in the organisation’s highest governing bodies, according to a leaked internal document entitled Governance of the EPO: a staff perspective.

As pointed out the other day, Microsoft too had realised that software patents are a bad idea. It was only later when the idea suited them better that they had a change of heart. Suddenly, as a giant, abuse of monopoly power seemed appealing. Have a look:

The [patent] sceptics say there is no scientific evidence that proves a link between innovation and patents. Besides, extended patent periods provide an opportunity for rent-seeking (through royalties). Also, while it has been argued that patents facilitate competition by encouraging the entry of start-ups, the critics opine that they mostly create short- or long-term monopolies.

Isn’t hypocrisy a funny thing? The same goes for deadlocks in the industry. Patents lead to a cyclic trap where small businesses are abolished while large one can grow infinitely strong.

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