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06.24.07

How Much Did Mr. Typaldos, Mr. Carmony, and Mr. Hovsepian Get Paid to Stomp on Linux? (Updated)

Posted in Fraud, FUD, GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Xandros at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Values, ethics, and team spirit drive the development of Free software. But then comes ego. CEOs who sign with Microsoft do it for the money. Certain figures will always remain undisclosed. The only CEO whose personal benefits could be estimated through stock options is Novell’s CEO.

Let us recapitulate. These three men, CEOs of Xandros, Linspire, and Novell, consumed GPL code and built/repackaged a product which was based on the work of volunteers and other companies. In turn, these men did not just make money selling the work of others. Instead, these three men opted for what could be considered “bribery” in order to put in jeopardy the very same people who gave them free software. They decided to sidle with the rival and work against the supplier (the developer, that is).

For the record, I would like to present a couple of relevant quotes (emphasis mine, using bold fonts).

Hovsepian’s Personal Payoff

He received 778,470 shares of stock awarded 12/20/06.

From this page you can see he’s historically not a big holder.

778,470 @ $6.20 is $4,826,514. No doubt he was hoping for more presents under his tree. Perhaps there will be more for him after the dust settles. Certainly would have been nice for him if the Street had liked the deal and he got a good bump. Too bad.



What is transparent is the message coming out of one side of Microsoft’s mouth which tries to convince customers there is a threat of legal action against them should they dare to use Linux and/or open source software without paying Microsoft for the privilege. The biggest unknowns in the Xandros and Linspire deals is how much money Microsoft paid them to bolster that message.

More on Linspire here. They received money for patents they simply do not have (they have none). In other words, they received money just to sign a bogus patent deal.

Why finish on such a pessimistic tone? Here’s an amusing cartoon that reminds us how it all works. And here’s a video.

Update: according to this, Linspire received $20 million from Microsoft.

Correction: oops. The guy must have been referring to the Lindows settlement. The amount Linspire received in this case apparently remains a mystery.

Moonlight (.NET) on Linux Became a Microsoft ‘Pet Project’

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In a series of recent posts, we did not exactly usher the arrival of Moonlight, which is a Silverlight implementation for Linux. The arguments behind this stance need not necessarily be repeated (see this latest item for more details). The news here appears to be Microsoft’s Moonlight backing, which is not surprising. Microsoft benefits from this much more than Linux does. In fact, I opine that Linux loses a lot more than it gains from a project that assists Microsoft’s Web takeover attempt.

Is it neither ironic nor absurd that Microsoft refuses to port Silverlight to Linux, but when Novell’s wallet is concerned, Microsoft shows its full support.

Microsoft France asked the head of the Mono project at Novell to demonstrate Silverlight running on Linux.

Say No to Mono
Do remember that that Silverlight is — probably by association — encumbered by many patents. Novell would probably brag some added value here, but at whose expense? Linux? Microsoft? Novell still strives to move Linux towards the heavily-patented Windows API, which is controlled only by Microsoft. Novell will let Microsoft pollute the Web with .NET, OOXML, and permit the company to refuse interoperability unless one pays. Mainsoft appears to be part of the same party, despite affiliations and relationships with IBM.

The company has been working with Mono on Mainsoft for Java EE for the last four years and Mono of course is the open source version of Microsoft’s .NET technologies sponsored by Novell.

My guess is that Microsoft will exploit Novell (just as it always has). Novell is an innocent proxy as Microsoft will use Novell’s workforce, presence and influence in the Linux world to promote .NET and then then betray the company, leading to its slow demise.

Struggling Linux Distributors Find Profitable New Product: Anti-Linux FUD

Posted in Finance, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Interoperability, Linspire, Mandriva, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu, Virtualisation, Windows, Xandros at 2:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt require money to exist and to be spread. When Shane wrote about the economics of FUD he was not necessarily referring to one’s ability to buy FUD from Linux companies. As we looked closer, however, it became evident that Microsoft simply paid Linux distributors to insinuate that Linux requires legal protection.

For CEOs to deny a need for ‘protection’ after a patent deal was made would be rather pointless. They received the money and then they attempted to get rid of the guilt. They wanted to dust off loud and justified criticism. Novell, Xandros, and Linspire all did this. We covered all such statements in this Web site, so it cannot be denied (older item are still being corrected and modified in order to contain all the relevant ‘paper trail’).

On a Saturday, Joe Barr felt the need to publish a short article in Linux.com (NewsForge has just been deprecated, by the way, after an ongoing merge with Linux.com). Joe speaks about the fact that Microsoft has not received what it truly wanted the most. It was not able to lure Red Hat (let alone the popular Mandriva and Ubuntu) into the realms of Linux taxation. This means that customers are still able to get a robust Linux product and support without paying Microsoft a single penny. Therein lies the strength of having multiple cooperative distributors. It’s the power of choice and decentralisation of control.

Here is what Joe Barr said about the paid-for FUD:

What is transparent is the message coming out of one side of Microsoft’s mouth which tries to convince customers there is a threat of legal action against them should they dare to use Linux and/or open source software without paying Microsoft for the privilege. The biggest unknowns in the Xandros and Linspire deals is how much money Microsoft paid them to bolster that message.

One tactic that we begin to identify is ‘punishment’ and corruption of free standards, which are intended to pressure Linux distributors into signing similar deals. It is therefore important that such moves get spotted and criticised in public. Some of these moves are very subtle on the surface, owing to shrewd spin. Think laterally.

LinuxToday’s chief editor had a personal opinion which is similar to that of Joe Barr. Microsoft may have snatched some ‘partners’, but it was unable to get access to the ones it truly needed. To quote:

And no matter what company or distribution you prefer to use, I think we should all give Mandriva a big round of applause for doing the right thing when it would have been so easy to take the deal and bolster their company’s bottom line.

So yes, Microsoft landed Novell, Xandros, and Linspire. But they didn’t get the biggest Linux company. Or the one that’s the most popular right now. Or even the one that perhaps could have used the help more than any other distro.

While Red Hat sticks by its guns and honours the GPL’s spirit, Microsoft is very unlikely to get its way. That is at least Groklaw’s most recent take on the situation.

The GPL tells you what you can and can’t do, just like Microsoft’s EULAs. And if you disrespect the GPL, you will find no one willing to code for you. I told you it wouldn’t work out for Novell, didn’t I? Well?

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