07.08.07

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Selected Responses to Microsoft’s GPLv3 Snobbery

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 12:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The press did not exactly buy Microsoft’s latest arguments. In fact, it only quoted or repeated those arguments (sometimes verbatim), which were later criticised and put to shame, even by Microsoft Watchers. Here are some examples:

Mary Jo Foley: Are Microsoft’s patent lawyers really this dumb?

Microsoft Watch: Say It Ain’t So

Bob Sutor: Microsoft and GPL v3

I thought the line [from Microsoft]

As always, Microsoft remains committed to working with the open source software community to help improve interoperability for customers working in mixed source environments and deliver IP assurance.

was pretty funny. In what sense of “always” do they mean? Was this true when free and open source was a “cancer” done by “communists”,

ITWire: Microsoft’s latest: blame Oprah Winfrey

And so is Microsoft. In grandiose fashion, the software behemoth has declared that it is not a party to the GPLv3 and that none of its actions “are to be misintepreted as accepting status as a contracting party of GPLv3 or assuming any legal obligations under such license.” I can hear the laughter ringing out.

To use an American phrase, get real.

Here is an article that explains why and how Novell’s customers are hurt.

Customers that buy Linux through Microsoft’s Novell alliance program will receive products and services only for open source software covered by GPLv2.

Novell’s response is therefore a tad mystifying. Businesses and governments should really know better and never do business with Novell, especially if Linux coupons are bought in a very questionable way from Novell’s sworn rival, Microsoft. Always remember what Microsoft’s Jim Allchin said.

“We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger… If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.”

Open Sources says more about Microsoft’s plan.

Now, one may wish to argue that Microsoft is only looking to be rightfully compensated by those using clever Microsoft inventions. I, for one, think that position is naïve. I firmly believe that Microsoft’s intellectual business division is executing a well-thought out plan – monetize where possible (Novell), implicitly threaten where monetization is not possible and sow enough uncertainty to slow down those who don’t acquiesce, directly or indirectly, to Microsoft’s licensing pressure.

This needs to have become common knowledge. It’s truly as simple as this.

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2 Comments

  1. akf said,

    July 8, 2007 at 2:40 am

    Gravatar

    With “as always” they mean, they handle with the topic “interoperability” as always: Getting users of other products to use their formats (or in their words “standards”), wait until the users get dependend on it, then make the format incompatible with the earlier formats (in their words “enhance the standard”) and make sure that these changes (“enhancements”) are incompatible with other systems. Then they can declare, that other systems are inferior and anybody can actually see how true that is. ;-)

    That’s what Novell helps them with their OOXML implementation, with Mono and of course with Moonlight…

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 8, 2007 at 3:18 am

    Gravatar

    The Halloween Documents truly gave it away, didn’t they? Here is where one of these documents has its validity addressed. The following is very telling.

    Halloween Memo I Confirmed and Microsoft’s History on Standards

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | By the way, if you are by any chance trying to figure out Microsoft’s policy
    | toward standards, particularly in the context of ODF-EOXML, that same
    | Microsoft page is revelatory, Microsoft’s answer to what the memo meant when
    | it said that Microsoft could extend standard protocols so as to deny
    | Linux “entry into the market”:
    |
    | Q: The first document talked about extending standard protocols as a way
    | to “deny OSS projects entry into the market.” What does this mean?
    |
    | A: To better serve customers, Microsoft needs to innovate above standard
    | protocols. By innovating above the base protocol, we are able to deliver
    | advanced functionality to users. An example of this is adding
    | transactional support for DTC over HTTP. This would be a value-add and
    | would in no way break the standard or undermine the concept of standards,
    | of which Microsoft is a significant supporter. Yet it would allow us to
    | solve a class of problems in value chain integration for our Web-based
    | customers that are not solved by any public standard today. Microsoft
    | recognizes that customers are not served by implementations that are
    | different without adding value; we therefore support standards as the
    | foundation on which further innovation can be based.
    `—-

    Source: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070127202224445

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