Matthew Aslett notes that, following Mark Shuttleworth’s posting that ruled out any Microsoft negotiations based on unspecified patent infringement claims, we also have word from another distribution oft-speculated as being "next" on Microsoft’s list: Mandriva.
So its 3-3 with Novell, Xandros and Linspire on one side and Red Hat, Ubuntu and Mandriva on the other (as noted here the deals with Samsung, Fuji Xerox and LG Electronics can be considered differently).
It’s not surprising that people were speculating about Mandriva being the next on Microsoft’s list given its financial position but CEO, Francois Bancilhon has ruled it out.
It should be noted that, the other day in one of our discussions it was pointed out that Mandriva’s finances may not be as dire as seems to be universally presumed.
Here is some of what CEO Bancilhon had to say regarding the Microsoft patent deals, referring to them as "protection money":
We also believe the best way to deal with interoperability is open standards, such as ODF which we support strongly and we are ready to cooperate with everyone on these topics.
As far as IP is concerned, we are, to say the least, not great fans of software patents and of the current patent system, which we consider as counter productive for the industry as a whole.
We also believe what we see, and up to now, there has been absolutely no hard evidence from any of the FUD propagators that Linux and open source applications are in breach of any patents. So we think that, as in any democracy, people are innocent unless proven guilty and we can continue working in good faith.
So we don’t believe it is necessary for us to get protection from Microsoft to do our job or to pay protection money to anyone.