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01.20.08

Don’t Let Journalists Make You Afraid of Mandriva, JVC

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Mandriva, Microsoft, Patent Covenant, Patents, Turbolinux, Windows at 2:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We do NOT want to ship the ’standard’ with Windows because we want to make the native APIs more attractive. We want to evolve the standard APIs rapidly, and not have ISVs [independent software vendors] spending time on something that is cross-platform. “

Chairman Bill Gates (CEO at the time)

The previous post covered some of the latest news about software patents. More on this fiasco can be found here. We said we would return to the possible issues with the Mandriva-Turbolinux collaboration (Manbo), if there are any at all (we never suggested this. but Groklaw did).

Here is what Mandriva’s CEO had to say in response to those who are worried.

Our recent announcement concerning the creation of a joint lab with Turbolinux has generated some controversy. Even PJ, from Groklaw, a site we like very much at Mandriva, showed some concerns and signaled her intention to stop using our Distro.

He alleviates many of the doubts, which is reassuring. It gives a cozy feeling, but be sure to see Brian Proffitt’s skepticism, as well. He actually corresponded with Mandriva’s CEO.

I wrote back: “I’m trying to understand how logistically this will work. Is there some sort of ‘clean room’ in place to keep Mandriva developers from seeing any Turbolinux code that might fall under the alleged Microsoft patents or any code that Microsoft may have directly contributed to Turbolinux?”

“The 10 or so engineers working in Manbo Labs have no access to any of the Turbo technology that is not is the lab scope. And everything in that scope is GPL,” Banchilon replied.

Not content with explaining it just to me, Banchilon reiterated these technical aspects, with more detail, on the Mandriva blog today. Specifically, he indicated what the scope of Manbo Labs would be:

  • The scope of work is about 100 low-level RPMs, all in GPL
  • Product will be available for public release under GPL
  • Development is public, made on our Cooker environment and associates the community

Is that enough to assuage the fears of the community? Hopefully so. I think the two companies need to help each other technically and it sounds as if Mandriva is taking care not to get involved in Microsoft’s shenanigans.

It’s a matter to trust. Mandriva has not compromised their values before, and I think that’s earned them the benefit of the doubt.

The Mandriva situation came about at roughly the same time as the JVC-Microsoft patent deal. They were announced almost simultaneously. Sadly enough, some other sources are still spreading doubt and create unnecessary drama. Microsoft’s Bink, for example, writes about Microsoft’s average of 250 patents per month:

However, the company [Microsoft] also begun a broad intellectual property licensing push several years ago, under which it licenses technology to many companies big and small. The company has signed a slew of patent cross licensing deals since then, the most recent being Tuesday’s deal with Japan’s JVC.

Trolling through filings can offer a glimpse of where a company is headed, but as with Apple’s closely watched patent filings, seeing something in a patent application is far from a guarantee of what will eventually ship.

What was more annoying is shrewdly-crafted disinformation/FUD from InformationWeek’s Paul McDougal, which resulted in headlines like this one: Microsoft profits from Linux again, easier than improving Windows Vista

While that may be true, the above statement is made in reference to the JVC deal, despite the fact that there is no evidence of Linux being involved. Over the line? Well, we looked at JVC before. Judge for yourselves and do not rely on fear mongers.

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