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10.30.07

Microsoft Has Already Hijacked (to Kill) Open Source

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, OSI, Patents at 10:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How could Novell, the OSI, the ISO, and the EC be so naive or blind?

In respond to this excellent new analysis it is worth pointing out that Microsoft already has hijacked “open source”. It’s just unfortunate that many developers and CIOs are unable to see this. Here are some fragments of interest (the article as a whole is a highly-recommended reading).

What really worries me is what looks like an emerging pattern in Microsoft’s behaviour. The EU agreement is perhaps the first fruit of this, but I predict it will not be the last. What is happening is that Microsoft is effectively being allowed to define the meaning of “open source” as it wishes, not as everyone else understands the term. For example, in the pledge quoted above, an open source project is “not commercially distributed by its participants” – and this is a distinction also made by Kroes and her FAQ.

In this context, the recent approval of two Microsoft licences as officially “open source” is only going to make things worse. Although I felt this was the right decision – to have ad hoc rules just because it’s Microsoft would damage the open source process – I also believe it’s going to prove a problem. After all, it means that Microsoft can rightfully point to its OSI-approved licences as proof that open source and Microsoft no longer stand in opposition to each other. This alone is likely to perplex people who thought they understood what open source meant.

[...]

What we are seeing here are a series of major assaults on different but related fields – open source, open file formats and open standards. All are directed to one goal: the hijacking of the very concept of openness. If we are to stop this inner corrosion, we must point out whenever we see wilful misuse and lazy misunderstandings of the term, and we must strive to make the real state of affairs quite clear. If we don’t, then core concepts like “open source” will be massaged, kneaded and pummelled into uselessness.

Rough reality, but it’s all very true. If you want to see a blunt response (parts with strong language are intentionally omitted), then look here.

Without explicitly saying that Microsoft does hold software patents applicable in the E.U., by allowing (the raison d’être of) and accepting the one-off payment of EUR 10,000 “to be paid by companies that dispute the validity or relevance of Microsoft’s patents”, the European Commission implicitly endorses Microsoft’s claims of having the “interoperability information” covered by software patents!

UNBELIEVABLE.

This is very troubling indeed. We have covered issues associated with these patents in Europe endlessly for the past fortnight [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. Everything that we cover here, from document formats (ISO) to open source (OSI) and Linux (Novell et al), is very interconnected and the issues intersect with one another. They are inseparable. Antitrust litigation and procurement is where they make a lot of impact. Attempts to ‘hijack’ open source companies and Linux companies would be hard to stop, but the GPLv3 helps here. Do read the new analysis if you haven’t because it is very eye opening.

Remind yourself that Microsoft is now in the business of extinguishing Free software and Linux. Do not be misled. By further diluting the meaning of “open source”, Microsoft can kill Free software, as well as the true value of open source software. It is not bound to happen because it is happening already, but some people just cannot see it.

DoJ and Microsoft Sitting on a Tree

Posted in Antitrust, Law, Microsoft, Novell at 6:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Kissing cousins’ of the U S of A

Remember Microsoft's conspicuous ties with the Department of Justice? Well, the following news may be an excellent illustration of the perfect relationship.

Microsoft, state prosecutors, and the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday said a federal judge needs more time to weigh whether Redmond should be subjected to a lengthier period of antitrust policing.

In a joint filing with U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who has been overseeing Microsoft’s antitrust compliance, they asked for a soon-to-expire oversight period to be temporarily extended until at latest January 31, 2008. That way, the judge will have more time to weigh the merits of last-minute pleas from a number of state prosecutors to add another five years to the oversight regime.

If you read closely you’ll see obedience and weakness. The weak and obedient party, however, is not that which is being accused. It’s the DoJ.

Monopoly

We have certainly covered many Microsoft stories recently (as opposed to Novell stories), but Novell’s front is eerily quiet. It’s out of the ordinary. Maybe you should have a look at “10 Reasons to Boycott Microsoft” rather than wait around here for more accusations against Novell. :-)

Acacia Continues to ‘Innovate’ with Portfolio

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 6:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Acacia, which has already identified as a threat to Linux with various links to Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], continues along its path of litigation.

Acacia has become one of the most hated firms by technology companies that actually do stuff. That’s because Acacia is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) firms out there in the business of buying up patents solely to sue companies.

The gist of it all is that NetFlix is now being targeted by Acacia. The specifics are, as usual, laughable, but a quick settlement for even just a fraction of the claims makes a worthwhile investment.

If you anticipate an optimal patent reform, don’t hold your breath.

Executives and lobbyists from some of America’s richest and most influential companies are walking the halls of Congress, buttonholing senators to argue for strong patents to preserve U.S. innovation.

Yes, there continues to be opposition from those who benefit the most from misuse of ownership ethics. Remember the absurd example where one is not even allowed to photograph a tree? How far will we go?

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