EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Quick Mention: How Does Dell Deliver GNU/Linux?

Posted in Dell, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 1:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Conservative software world and Big Media to meet Free software

Dell’s decision to ship GNU/Linux desktops was a wonderful thing. There is no doubt about it. Dell’s decision is commendable.

When Dell joined the Microsoft/Novell deal — whatever that means — questions arose. It was a bit of a mystery and it wasn’t obvious what it actually involved. All we have are lots of clues, the subsequent distribution of SUSE Linux in China, other theories, and various other pieces of information that we continue to gather as time goes by (more here). The information piles up, but there’s no clear conclusion. Everything is vague.

The latest news is that Dell will add out-of-the-box DVD playback support to its Ubuntu GNU/Linux PCs.

It has long been possible to play DVDs on Linux. However, with most Linux distributions, it is necessary to manually enable this functionality. That is because while the user may legally own both the DVD he or she is trying to play and the computer it’s being played on, in the United States, enabling open-source-based operating systems to play commercial DVDs, with their wide variety of DRM (digital rights management) schemes, is something of a legal swamp. There are legal ways around this, and presumably Dell has invested in one of them.

What is meant here by “invested”? Was there just a legal barrier, a financial barrier, or something else? After Dell’s engagement in the Novell/Microsoft deal, might we gradually see software patent tax added blindly? On the desktop, interoperability is unlikely to be a factor.

Dell never spoke about the financial relationship it has with Canonical, so it’s hard to know what money flows in whose direction. There is no transparency at all although we’ve already seen anti-competitive elements in Dell's contracts with Microsoft.

Last but not least — a reminder about mythical patents. Remember that GNU/Linux is software. There cannot be patent infringement in it (with the exception of a few countries), unless it’s combined or embedded in some device. Even DMCA laws are hard to find around the world.

No Patents in Linux

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 19, 2007 at 2:17 am


    If you were capable of informed analysis and research, you’d find that they were using LinDVD, a fully licensed proprietary DVD player, and that there are no patent encumbrances related to licensed decryption of DVD content (playing the actual MPEG content certainly has encumbrances, but those are completely unrelated to Microsoft).

    Again, we see more negativity and misguided conspiracy theories from this site… surprise, surprise. I wonder what kind of correction and/or retraction we’ll see!

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 19, 2007 at 2:29 am


    Was a statement made? No. I asked questions and I am glad there were answered thanks to your good knowledge. It remains to be seen what exactly is involved when it comes to Dell’s affair with Microsoft and Novell. More importantly — why?

  3. rfrdt45 said,

    December 19, 2007 at 4:14 am


    The “I only ask questions” excuse is very shallow. You ask leading questions, you have the very clear aim to conjure up certain conspiracy theories as an answer to these ‘questions’. That is so very low; like the whole of your blow is very, very low.

  4. rfrdt45 said,

    December 19, 2007 at 4:15 am


    The “I only ask questions” excuse is very shallow. You ask leading questions, you have the very clear aim to conjure up certain conspiracy theories as an answer to these ‘questions’. That is so very low; like the whole of your blog is very, very low-level slander.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 19, 2007 at 5:39 am


    Again, as I’ve said above, I really appreciate Dell’s efforts and I’m among those who pressured them hard to take the plunge. As the banner above indicates clearly, the concern here is to do with software patents, not DVD playback (that’s just where I asked some honest leading questions). The worry many of us have is that proprietary, commercial (as in not free), DRM-laden, and/or patent-encumbered software will turn a consumer’s GNU/Linux into something it is not. I know that Dell is, in some sense, “Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place” here. It can’t please everyone.

  6. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 19, 2007 at 5:46 am


    You’ve used an inaccurate reading of the inclusion of DVD support as the jumping off point for a ridiculous, unproductive insinuation for which you have absolutely no evidence or supporting information whatsoever. I’ll point out that we’ve seen this behaviour before. Right now, the only way to ship legal DVD support is to ship proprietary, licensed software. There is nothing sinister about that, nor is it in any way related to Microsoft. Get your facts straight and your paranoia seen to, Roy.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 19, 2007 at 7:33 am



    It has been very obvious what you’re trying to do here all along. You’re hoping that by nitpicking amongst a lot of material which I post at a high pace you’ll be able to find your share of ‘proofs’ that you’ll then show people whenever they point out something which was posted in this site. You seek to discredit.

    For similar reasons, people (possibly shills) pollute sites like Slashdot with links to gross photo, insults, homophobia, and other mindless stuff that turns away CIOs and other MBAs, basically robbing the site from its reputation just because the content is uncomfortable for some corporations to accept.

  8. rfrdt45 said,

    December 19, 2007 at 7:48 am


    ‘Nitpicking’?!?!? Roy, you just write things that are not true! That’s a bit more than minor inaccuracies, which would fit the term ‘nitpicking’.

    How about if you stop “posting at a high pace”, as you so nicely put it, and RESEARCH BEFORE YOU WRITE? As it is now, it doesn’t need any effort to discredit your site, you do that all by yourself. ‘Everyday a Loch Ness Monster, and if I can’t find one, I produce one’, seems to be your motto.

  9. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 19, 2007 at 8:19 am


    I point out when you’re writing dumb stuff, Roy. Take some responsibility for it instead of being such a tool.

  10. Ian said,

    December 19, 2007 at 11:46 am


    While I don’t exactly support your ultimate stance of boycotting Novell for the reasons you state(or infer as it normally seems), I would say that your goals might be better served if instead of posting the questions which you use to drive various fictional scenarios, you take Jeff’s advice from previous posts and actually try to get those questions answered by people involved. Then you will be in a better position to back your claims….er….inferences.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 19, 2007 at 2:39 pm



    Being a Web site that isn’t the press, one has to consider the fact that research is often limited. I don’t state facts when they are not and the type of discussion that addressed the questions (not false claims) is only to be expected.


    Thanks for the advice, which I will take. At least it wasn’t phrased rudely (that’s you, Jeff).

What Else is New

  1. Links 8/4/2020: Tails 4.5, Septor 2020.2, GNOME Money Awards and Mozilla's New CEO

    Links for the day

  2. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, April 07, 2020

  3. GitHug - A Guest Article by Thomas Grzybowski

    "Now, if Azure revenue has increased 72%, but the gross revenue in this category has only increased 25%, that means that the other components, primary GitHub, are actually a substantial negative."

  4. Links 7/4/2020: Firefox 75, Python 2.7.1 RC1

    Links for the day

  5. The Fall of the UPC - Part XIV: Media Owned and Controlled by Law Firms Did Not Properly Cover the Decision of the German Constitutional Court (FCC)

    We take another look at the shallow if not deliberately misleading coverage in sites that are literally owned and run by law firms, for the benefit of law firms rather than informing the public

  6. The Media Paints Bill Gates as the Man Who Will Save the World While Seattle's Police Department Obstructs Access to Documents About Pedophilia Arrest at His Home

    We're still unable to receive even one single page of the police report about arrest for pedophilia at the home of Bill and Melinda Gates; the media says nothing about this and instead it paints Gates as a national or international hero

  7. IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, April 06, 2020

  8. Software Patents Remain Junk Patents in the United States (Not Enforceable), Whereas the EPO Keeps Granting Them and Promoting Them

    We take note of the positive outcomes in the US, where courts continue to reject software patents, but in Europe the largest patent office, which sought to replace all the courts, still acts as if patent law does not exist and patents can be endlessly printed irrespective of their merit (or validity as judged by actual courts)

  9. The Fall of the UPC - Part XIII: A Death Worth Celebrating and Many Lies Worth Debunking

    We take stock of positive responses to the decision made by the German constitutional court (FCC) 2.5 weeks ago; we also explain why it has taken so long to piece together firm-by-firm scoresheet for UPC lies

  10. GitHub is Moving the Free Software Movement Into “Check”

    GitHub's growing levels of control over Free software projects (GitHub itself is proprietary and Microsoft-controlled) ought to alarm the community; it's a lot worse than most people care to acknowledge, based on weeks of detailed analysis of GNU/Linux distros

  11. Links 6/4/2020: New Red Hat CEO, elementary OS Hera Updates

    Links for the day

  12. When the Decision is OK and the Judge's Motivations Are Also OK

    Justice Huber made the right call; but the bullies and charlatans who conspired to undermine laws and constitutions will never be satisfied

  13. The Fall of the UPC - Part XII: Doing the Unthinkable by Blaming the Judge's (Justice's) Wife?

    Team UPC and its media partners never cease to amaze us; anybody who stands in their way is either portrayed as a Russian stooge or too ignorant to be worth talking to

  14. The Fall of the UPC - Part XI: Lies Told by Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI) in Süddeutsche Zeitung

    Today we look at misleading claims (or lies) published by Süddeutsche Zeitung after the Germans' constitutional court (FCC) had pointed out the obvious, namely that UPC ratification would be in violation of the German constitution

  15. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, April 05, 2020

  16. Links 5/4/2020: MindSpore, Covid-19 Projects and More

    Links for the day

  17. EPO is Just Like Some Cruel Political Party and Not a Patent Office

    The "cabal" which runs today's EPO (even the word "Mafia" seems suitable here) isn't acting -- not even remotely -- like a patent office; it's a patent-printing operation ("protection money" as income) that uses shallow political stunts to manufacture consent with the EU's 'generous' assistance

  18. Digitalisation and Digital Technologies as a Ploy to Justify Illegal Software Patents

    Say "hello" to the next weasel word/s; from the "hey hi" hype wave we've now moved to something "digital" (which can mean just about anything, including algorithms of all sorts)

  19. The Fall of the UPC - Part X: How We Shall Catalogue UPC Lies

    The cult that Team UPC became (one member lying to another member, maintaining a false version of reality) will be judged based on underlying facts, not lying about facts; we start with a token of contempt for IP Kat and Bristows LLP (there are overlaps)

  20. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 04, 2020

  21. Major Revelation: Microsoft Blackmail Against LAMP (GNU/Linux and Free Stacks for Servers) Goes At Least 16 Years Back, Predating the Novell Patent Deal

    (Techno-)Anthropological analyses of Microsoft's patent war on Free/libre software must take into account what Microsoft did to MySQL, a Swedish company at the time

  22. Links 4/4/2020: Sparky 5.11, Firefox 74.0.1, POCL 1.5

    Links for the day

  23. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, April 03, 2020

  24. Links 3/4/2020: Ubuntu Beta, GNOME 3.36.1, ExTiX LXQt Mini, NetBSD 8.2 Released

    Links for the day

  25. Digital Communication, Digitalisation and Videogaming Among the EPO's Latest Smokescreens for Illegal and Abstract Patents on Algorithms

    The EPO keeps liaising with the EU to promote patents which EU officials have themselves said were illegal; to make matters worse, the EPO's violations of its own laws inspire the United States to do the same

  26. Emotional Blackmail for Illegal Software Patents

    Semantic tactics the European Patent Office (EPO) uses to promote software patents in Europe and may theoretically use in the future (satire)

  27. Clear Linux is to GNU/Linux What Clearly Defined is to Open Source

    The idea that we need Intel to take GNU/Linux ‘mainstream’ is ludicrous; as OSDL co-founder (now succeeded in the flesh of the Corporate Linux Foundation), Intel is more about Linux (with DRM, “secure boot” and everything that lets it be remotely controlled) than about GNU and it’s not too keen on GPL (copyleft), either

  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 02, 2020

  29. Links 2/4/2020: Linux 5.6.2, Qt Creator 4.11.2, LineageOS ROM Based on Android 10

    Links for the day

  30. OIN in 2020 Resembles Linux Foundation in 2020 (Corporate Front Group Piggybacking the Linux Brand)

    We regret to say that the Open Invention Network seems not to care at all about Software Freedom; to make matters worse, it is a proponent of software patents and a voice for companies like IBM and Microsoft, not the "Community" it fancies misrepresenting

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts