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07.22.07

The ‘Cost’ of GPLv3 is the Loss of All Threats to Free Software

Posted in Finance, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, Patent Covenant, Patents, Xandros at 10:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We continue to explore the Linspire/Microsoft affairs and we identify some highly discomforting facts. As we stated in the past, personal benefits were possibly (even probably) part of all those recent deals. Moreover, vile attacks which ensued could truly make you wonder who is on whose side. There are no answers, but there is a lot of evidence to gather and then weigh. Consider some of the latest:

The page on the Linspire executives lists only one founder, Michael Robertson. Maybe there are others. Who knows with a privately-held company? For that matter, who knows where the Microsoft money goes with a private company. There is no public accountability. The “Inc.” means it is a corporation, so it’s still under certain requirements under the laws that govern that type of entity, but it’s not like SCO Group, where we get to read where all the money goes. Well.

So what really happened there? Similar questions arose when the Xandros and Novell deals materialised. Executives are possibly being ‘rewarded’, but there is no strong and concrete evidence to support this. If that is the case, Microsoft may be buying its anti-Linux FUD in attempts to corrupt and muddy the marketplace. Seen differently, Microsoft buys the exit of Linux companies from the market. Until now, no compelling evidence was available; yet, the new disclosures that we know about leave a lot of room for speculation. Carry on reading.

Making Linux suicidal for some companies seems to have been one Microsoft strategy, among others such as ‘artificial’ promotion of Microsoft’s Office OpenXML. Innocent watchers cannot help giving some credit to Microsoft. It knows what it’s doing. Why can’t we? It is important that Linux companies finally understand what is happening. The media has an agenda, so it can be deceiving. It portrays the deals with Microsoft as friendly collaborations.

Call it a case of naive reporting or reporters with an agenda, but the matter of fact is that hope is not lost. More people wake up and realise that the loss of Linspire would actually be a gain. Watch the thread “So the backstabbing Has Begun”.

I’ve seen several business analysts (not Free/Open software people) who say that Microsoft has NEVER in it’s corporate history not betrayed anyone who signed an agreement with them. IBM, Digital Research, the list is long. The behavior is remarkably consistent over decades.
It was never a question of anything but time.
Novel, Xandros, Linspire. Now it looks like the betrayal has already started. Hope these folks have lots of band aids.

To which the reply was:

Given that these are the companies who flipped off the people whose software they use, I hope they have no first aid. I don’t aprove of Microsoft’s conduct, but these companies have it coming to them. Before anyone complains about the Linux community “eating its own young” or anything, let me point out that these companies decided on their own to become cancerous growths on free software. (Of course, Linspire was 70% there already.) I say the appropriate response is to cut off the cancer before it infects the rest of the body.

A couple more comments concur. One says that Linspire lives under a state of delusion while another calls for adoption of GPLv3 as a step that would put an end to Microsoft’s screenplay.

A few more comments are worth mentioning and we hope LinuxToday won’t mind us ‘borrowing’ them. Suddenly the tune changes and Lispire’s ‘mistake’ may seem like more of a deliberate strategy. One reader notes:

“That is $20 million each paid to Xandros and Linspire, and $240 million paid to Novell.”

The Xandros and Linspire figures are truly new to us. Can anybody corroborate with a reliable source? This is reminiscent of Microsoft’s secret investments in SCO, which fights Linux in court.

Another reader points out:

“And to make matters worse our DOJ is too stupid to see what’s happening.”

Finally, another reader sums it all up. To quote a fragment of a very large comment:

Just think about it:

1. Microsoft claims GNU/Linux infringes its IP.

2. Microsoft PAYS a large sum of money to Novell, Linspire, and Xandros.

3. Microsoft then agrees not to pursue legal action against Novell, Linspire, and Xandros, or their customers, for infringing Microsoft IP.

Now, if GNU/Linux actually violated Microsoft IP, the money in any deal between a GNU/Linux distribution and Microsoft would flow the other way. Novell, Linspire and Xandros would have had to pay Microsoft to indemnify GNU/Linux users.

Novell, Linspire and Xandros were hired to do a job.

The job they were hired to do was to assist Microsoft in destroying GNU/Linux as a “free as in speech and free as in beer” alternative to Windows on the desktop and Windows in the server room.

It sums it all up rather nicely. Luckily, there is something we can do. The FSF foresaw this.

Developers should not be discouraged by Linspire and they ought to consider an upgrade to GPLv3. Luis Villa continues to debunk some GPL myths.

Most users won’t see any change from the shift from v2 to v3- they’ll be able to keep trucking, since users have all the same rights they used to have, plus a few new ones. There are new requirements for contributors and distributors, but they should be threatening only to the small minority of companies who want to benefit from the GPL while competing on a basis other than quality and service.

We previously mentioned the video where Dr. Stallman announces the GPLv3 and makes it seem less intimidating than people were led to believe. For those who favour embedded Flash (OGG here), here it is (new addition to YouTube, which RMS evidently dislikes):

As it stands, Linspire apparently attacks Free software. GPLv3 ‘punishes’ Linspire. Developers should not let this become a discouraging factor or a deterrent. The sooner the FUD is eradicated, the better. Linspire is no longer on our side, which is also why we registered boycottlinspire.com. Those who were hired (read: paid) to attack Linux need be alienated…

not because we are nasty, but because Free software must defend its existence.

The last thing we need to endorse is another SCO with 3 battle fronts.

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