A number of analysts/journalists/bloggers didn’t check their facts and seem to have fallen into the trap, and ascribed a far greater importance to the actions of the [OpenDocument] Foundation. Curiously, these articles all quoted the same Microsoft Director of Corporate Standards. I hope this correlation does not prove to be a persistent contrary indicator for accuracy in future file format stories.
Luckily for us, David Berlind over at ZDNet has penetrated the confusion and gets it right:
…the future of the OpenDocument Foundation has nothing to do with the future of the OpenDocument Format. In other words, any indication by anybody that the OpenDocument Format has been vacated by its supporters is pure FUD.
Discriminatory and self-serving reporting truly ought to end, but this seems like an impossible goal when even tax-funded corporations like the BBC get corrupted by the Microsoft money and Microsoft’s own interests. Still, one can always hope for change. █
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today published the GNU Affero General Public License version 3 (GNU AGPLv3). This is a new license; it is based on version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GNU GPLv3), but has an additional term to allow users who interact with the licensed software over a network to receive the source for that program. By publishing this license, the FSF aims to foster user and development communities around network-oriented free software.
Microsoft is extremely keen to avoid “legal debate” over whether its recent partnerships with Linux firms such as Novell, Xandros, and Linspire, mean Redmond must assume any of the new licenses’ legal obligations.
Microsoft’s covenant not to sue users of Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise will be extended to all General Public License v3 users as soon as Novell includes GPLv3 code within its Linux distribution, according to the Free Software Foundation.
It ought to be clear by now that Microsoft has become over-obsessed with Linux, and rightly so. Looking at internal Microsoft documents, it is clear that Microsoft wants Free software (including Linux) dead. We have provided links and text in the past in order to support this assertion. Even filings which are visible to stake holders have had Linux listed as a most major threat to Microsoft’s core business.
Microsoft takes no passive stance. It does not pursue further success only by improving its own products. It has already responded with SCO-esque action that involves intimidation, extortion (yes, they secretly charge money for mythical patents), and more.
”Money can change laws, make bigots, and change perceptions.“Since Microsoft is concerned about Linux and also acts intolerably towards its future existence as a free platform, it would only be natural to keep an eye on Microsoft. Not understanding what Microsoft intends to do to Linux and Free software is a case of being completely blind to one’s greatest threat. It is a case of exposing oneself. No company other than Microsoft has spent so much time and money fighting Linux (not even SCO).
In reality, not analysing the issues at hands, including the patent strategy, is the path to the destruction of Linux as we know it. Money can change laws, make bigots, and change perceptions. With the recent patent deals, for example, that money is already doing a lot of legwork, so to speak.
As far as mobile devices go (Linux has excellent presence and growth in that area), Microsoft hopes to 'tax' embedded Linux, probably per device unit sold. If Linux will ultimately reign this area, which it will, Microsoft can grab a share of revenue it is not entitled to receive. If the cost of embedded Linux becomes high due such ‘taxation’, Microsoft can suddenly bring more appeal to its Windows-based offerings. There is a good reason why Microsoft signed cross-licensing deals with 4 companies that produce Linux devices. Microsoft explicitly included Linux in the announcements. This changes perceptions and Microsoft sets precedence this way, without ever requiring to produce any evidence (list of patents, for starters). How overly dishonest and uncomplaining.
So, what is next? A patent deal with supercomputing companies? Linux virtually owns 91.8% of this market (assuming top-tier supercomputers are anything to judge by). Microsoft would love to change this using dirty tricks and unprecedented intervention (Novell’s deal was a seminal one).
Microsoft has become morbidly obsessed with Linux. If this relationship is reciprocal, then it is probably justified. █
Be sure to go through the whole thing and see how subtle Microsoft sentences — if they are readable at all — can be used to create uncertainty. There must be a handbook of “quick facts” somewhere (there are actually several of them) from which these cheap-shot attacks on Free software and Linux get extracted time after time to make the Big Lie persist.
The article concludes with the following statement:
Really, the best model that would work best for the software business, would be to get rid of software patents. It’s that simple. Oh, sorry, but that would take away a MAJOR method of threatening everything else which isn’t part of the “Microsoft Stack”, wouldn’t it.
We are left wondering. Where is Novell in all of this? Shouldn’t Novell condemn Microsoft’s actions, given its insistence that Linux does not really infringe on Microsoft patents? Novell’s relationship with Microsoft/Windows is actually more important now than its relationship with other (collaborative) Linux distributors, which is revolting. Novell has picked the wrong side based on popularity criteria, It also sidled with the company that wants it destroyed and constantly spreads lies to achieve this. █