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08.06.07

ZDNet Speculation About Patent Battles with Microsoft

Posted in Law, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, SCO at 8:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We rarely ever cover Novell’s involvement in the SCO case. Groklaw already does that very well. Nevertheless, the following article from ZDNet Australia seems to have spun an SCO/Novell story to make it a Microsoft/Novell story.

Novell has boosted it’s legal team with one of America’s top patent lawyers in what is building up to be a legal battle with Microsoft.

It seems like unnecessary sensationalism (watch the headline: “Novell prepares for patent battle with Microsoft?”), which follows an article from ZDNet UK. The following seems reasonable.

Referring to Acker’s appointment, blogger and legal expert Pamela Jones wrote: “That tells me that they [Novell] are seriously preparing for trial, and they are making sure their heavy guns are in place. This doesn’t mean the other lawyers on Novell’s team are now shoved aside by any means. Litigation is a team sport.”

What might Novell be cooking?

No Patents in Linux

Say No to Novell

Mr. Shuttleworth Calls Microsoft’s Actions What They Are — Extortion (Updated)

Posted in FUD, Intellectual Monopoly, Interview, Microsoft, Patents, Ubuntu at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Well done, Mark. Here is what he had to say to eWeek about Microsoft’s patent claims.

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is,” he said. “To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game. On the other side, if Microsoft is concerned about its intellectual property, there is no one in the free software community that wants to violate anyone’s IP. Disclose the patents and we’ll fix the code. Alternatively, move on.”

Here is what Mark said a few months ago:

Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering. What Microsoft is doing with intellectual property is exactly the same. It’s a great company and I have great admiration for it, but this was not a well considered position.

Microsoft has already explained why it cannot provide specific details. Are you ready for their explanation? Well, Microsoft says it’s too much paperwork. Do you believe Microsoft?

Update: There’s more as Mark continues to shoot from the lip. Dana has a good summary, but sadly he turns this into a political debate (which it is not).

Novell Sings Microsoft’s Self-serving Tunes

Posted in Boycott Novell, FUD, Humour, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Ron Hovsepian, Steve Ballmer at 4:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell marionetteWeird-looking Steve Ballmer with a small puppet tied to strings, eh? Think of the picture on the right as a depiction of the Novell-Microsoft relationship. When a company becomes financially dependent on another, it is natural to expect a certain bias that favours those in control. Over the past few months — on several occasions even — Novell has made certain statements which it later regretted, retracted, or claimed to have been misinterpretations. Here are a few examples of cases where Novell goes batting for Microsoft, whether intentionally and knowingly or not.

Disclaimer: links lead to contextual references, not necessarily the original sources, which are cited therein.

Novell Employee Backs Microsoft in OOXML Clash with Europe

Miguel de Icaza, with a history or taking Microsoft’s side, states: “The EU Prosecutors are Wrong“ [on OOXML vs ODF].

Novell Confirms the Deal Was About “Intellectual Property

In mid-November, shortly after the pact was announced, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer said companies that sell or run Linux, but aren’t covered under the Novell deal, are illegally using Microsoft’s IP. “We believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability,” he said.

He said in a later meeting: “I do think it clearly establishes that open source is not free.”

Novell and Microsoft Decided for that World That Interoperability Requires “Assurance” and ‘Tax’”

I felt constrained to point out that for 20 years Unix, and then Linux customers, hadn’t felt the need to be protected by such agreements. It’s curious why customers should now suddenly need assurance.

Nat Friedman Defends Pact with Novell’s #1 Rival

Nat Friedman: I haven’t seen that until now, I mean there have always been flamewars in the Linux community, it’s part of the community culture.

Novell’s Desktop Migration Strategy: Slow and Steady

So, rather than compete directly with their partner Microsoft with their award-winning “complete desktop replacement”, Novell is instead encouraging other Linux vendors to also embrace Microsoft and is preaching peaceful coexistence with Windows.

Another Major Victim of Microsoft’s Linux Deals? Linspire’s CEO Abandons the Ship.

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft at 4:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Say No to Mono

After selling us some of Microsoft’s anti-Linux FUD and getting totally betrayed by Microsoft, Kevin Caromy, CEO of Linspire, decided to leave the company. Is Eric Raymond next?

Carmony also said his resignation, contrary to some rumors, had nothing to do with any disagreement with Linspire’s primary owner Michael Robertson, or with fallout from either of Linspire’s recent deals with Microsoft, which covered technology licensing and patent indemnification.

This sounds unlikely, but let us give him the benefit of the doubt.

Is it bad news for Linux as a whole? Au contraire, one mighty argue. To repeat what Groklaw stated about a month ago:

Mr. Carmony [of Linspire] asked a question, will Linux split in two factions? The answer is no. Some Linux distros will limp along a while and then die off, because they misunderstood what folks want when they choose GNU/Linux and FOSS. You can see that already. Red Hat, which refused to sign any such deal, is flourishing, for example. It’s not about code that “just works”. Apple offers that already. It’s the freedom. And we’ve proven willing to put up with some temporary frustration in order to get it. In time, FOSS will win, and all those proprietary codecs and everything else will be made available on pleasanter terms, because market share does that.

We feel sorry for Linux talent that grew inside Linspire and will probably face unpleasant consequences for months (maybe even years) to come. On several occasions we tried to warn Kevin, but he went for the money anyway.

When Linspire initially announced its deal with Microsoft, Christian Einfeldt, founder of Digital Tipping Point, let everyone know that Michael Robertson, founder of Linspire, probably would not have endorsed the deal. Christian once interviewed this man, whom I personally respect. Regardless of the direction Robertson and Linspire take, the distribution is stuck because of licensing issues.

Let this show the world why deals with Microsoft are always a bad idea.

No. More. Deals.

Please.

Microsoft Shows Its Hand, Reveals ‘Puppet Strategy’

Posted in Corel, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Turbolinux, Xandros at 12:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OOXML Suppets

Image from Wikipedia (in the public domain). Also see puppet state.

A puppet state is a country that is nominally independent, but in reality, under the control of another power.

The term has two distinct but related meanings. First, it refers to a state whose government depends on a foreign power for its existence and which closely follows the will of that foreign power in key policy issues; sometimes economic, sometimes strategic.

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