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


Bill Gates Ridicules the GPL While Novell Mops Up with Software Patents

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Europe, Finance, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 8:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Movell and Nicrosoft

There is no substantial news here other than development of discussions, which seem to spread fairly fast from one blog to another blog and soon onto the press. To repeat criticisms from yesterday about Novell’s announcement on China [1, 2], Novell and Microsoft keep spreading software patents to all parts of the world (never mind the legality), using SUSE Linux (Ballnux).

As another article to consider, there is this one from The Boston Globe.

Because Linux software is available free of charge, many Chinese businesses use it without paying. These companies miss out on the service, support, and upgrades that companies like Novell can provide. By encouraging Chinese firms to pay for Linux, Microsoft is helping Novell tap a valuable revenue stream.

It should really say “Microsoft tap a valuable revenue stream.” Novell’s Linux is actually Microsoft Linux in the sense that it’s only a ‘surrogate’ that replaces Free Linuxes with one that Microsoft owns in the ‘intellectual’ sense. It’s a trap.

Meanwhile, returning to the discussion about Microsoft taxoperability program [1, 2, 3, 4], Centrify stirred up some discussion with this analysis of Microsoft software patents.

The motivation for this blog entry is that given that so much has been written about Microsoft and patents vis a vis Linux and vis a vis the European Commission decision, I found it interesting that it seems no one in the industry has actually rolled up their sleeves and analyzed and published how many patents Microsoft actually holds within their Windows server protocols and what functional areas these patents cover. I think this is key information to know in order to help address Gartner Group’s advice to open source developers to “not use Microsoft’s [protocol] documentation unless you have rigorous processes to keep track of applicable patents.” Having this supplementary information could also benefit commercial software developers by helping them better understand what Microsoft has to offer protocol-wise and what they potentially may need (or may not need) to license from Microsoft.

This soon got the attention of ZDNet’s Between the Lines and the Microsoft Blog. What we see here is probably increased pressure by staged introduction of clues. Microsoft hopes not only to replace all those ‘nasty’ Linuxes that Microsoft does not control and or make money from, but it also hopes to set legal traps for them.

Where does that leave Novell? On Microsoft’s side, of course, with a frontal assault on the Freedom of software (not the same as Linux).

Quite appalling are some of the things which Gates said just a couple of days ago about open source, Free software and the GPL.

One thing Gates won’t be leaving behind in retirement is his distaste for open source software. After one scientist asked if Gates would consider open source uses in health research, the man who built his $280 billion company on the power of intellectual property bristled.

“There’s free software and then there’s open source,” he suggested, noting that Microsoft gives away its software in developing countries. With open source software, on the other hand, “there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”

Open source, he said, creates a license “so that nobody can ever improve the software,” he claimed, bemoaning the squandered opportunity for jobs and business. (Yes, Linux fans, we’re aware of how distorted this definition is.) He went back to the analogy of pharmaceuticals: “I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,” he said, adding with a shrug: “That may seem radical.”

it’s very revealing that Microsoft tries to separate Free software (it tries to characterise it as gratis, i.e. zero cost, cheap, shoddy) from open source. Open source is, to Microsoft, mainly about visibility, but it wants it to be subjected to the same rules, including software patents. Where are those geniuses who defended Microsoft’s seemingly-friendly approach towards the OSI?

“Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio.”

Marshall Phelps

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. Logan said,

    April 22, 2008 at 10:41 pm


    “Because Linux software is available free of charge, many Chinese businesses use it without paying.”

    This is the most funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.

    Despicable people, like Bill Gates, will continue to exist and be powerful as long other despicable people, like those commenting on the the article, continue to kiss his ass. Doesn’t these people have brains to think for themselves? Is that too much to ask from the average human being?

    Novell and Microsoft are selling some “moon property” to those unfortunate chinese citizens.

    There’s a fool born every second.

  2. SubSonica said,

    April 23, 2008 at 2:08 am


    They started their strategy of wooing the Open Source side of FOSS in order to marginalise Free(dom) Software and find a way to marginalise the FSF and kill the GPL and GNU/Linux long ago. They tried first with Eric Raymond, who already knew better:


    I had my serious, constructive converstation with Microsoft last year, when a midlevel exec named Steven Walli took me out to dinner at OSCON 2004 and asked, in so many words, “How can we not be evil?” And I told him — open up your file formats (including Word and multimedia), support open technical standards instead of sabotaging them, license your patents under royalty-free, paperwork-free terms.

    I believe Steve Walli went back to his bosses and told them that truth. He is no longer with Microsoft, and what little he’ll say about it hints that they canned him for trying to change their culture.

    This didn’t surprise me. Microsoft’s profit margins require a monopoly lock on the market; thus, they’re stuck with being predatory evil bastards. The moment they stop being predatory evil bastards, their stock price will tank and their options pyramid will crash and it will be all over.

    That being the case, negotiation is pointless. Microsoft is not reformable. Jeering at offers like this is actually the most constructive thing we can do.”

    There is a IMHO well-intentioned article on Freesoftwaremagazine stating how Microsoft wouldn’t lose with Free Software, notice it is full of “if”s , although the article starts completely wrong by assuming the divisive propaganda thesis of Microsoft that “there is some faction in the FOSS world who has an anti-Microsoft agenda”, while it is quite the opposite: It is Microsoft who has had an anti-Free Software, anti-Linux and anti-OpenSource agenda from the beginning, only they seem to be approaching what (for them) seem to be the lesser, easier to tame (with money) of these three “evils” in order to sidestep and defeat the other two: So I agree with ESR. that Microsoft will try to keep their monopoly lock-in at any cost, because it is the only thing that keeps their margins so high; which again, allows them to spend buckloads of money in their cover-ops throught lobbying as we have been witness with the FIASCOOXML and the SW Patents (which includes the Microvell pact) ongoing war.
    May be it would be appropriate for BN to write a well-elaborated rebuttal of that article at FSM, since they are encouraging readers to write a full article in reply if they feel like to.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 23, 2008 at 2:32 am


    Interesting insights. It’s all very obvious to many of us, but not to everyone (the brainwashed media does not help). I’m writing an article for Datamation at the moment. It’s about Red Hat, but maybe we should indeed rebut in some way all those “Microsoft loves FOSS” articles that completely fall into Microsoft’s trap (it’s about empowering the Microsoft stack and APIs).

  4. John Wilson said,

    April 29, 2008 at 12:22 am


    While I don’t find it at all hard to believe that MS is up to the tricks you’re alleging, for the reasons you state in this case I happen to think they’re being too clever by half with this one.

    First off the Chinese aren’t stupid. They’ve watched Microsoft for years and they’re well aware of the kind of tricks they pull. Beyond that they seem more in the mood to acquire others than to sell themselves off these days.

    You do business in China by their rules not by anyone elses.

    There’s also a bit of a chinese elephant in the room here in the form of Red Flag Linux which carries the blessing of the Communist Party of China who do, after all, still run the show. Playing this kind of game puts Novell and Microsoft in the position of pissing off the folks that run the place which just happens to be the largest emerging market in the world. Not at all smart.



What Else is New

  1. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  2. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  3. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  4. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  5. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  6. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  7. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  8. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  9. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  10. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  11. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  12. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  13. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions

  14. Gross Violation of Workers' Rights in EPO: Denial of Christmas Vacation/Leave for Slower Workers

    A look at an E-mail from within the EPO which shows how Christmas is used to squeeze staff, urging them to work even faster (despite speed gains) or lose their Christmas leave

  15. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

    A look at the union-busting and protest-crushing moves from high-level EPO managers, who are trying to convince politicians that they do so in an effort to stop terrorists and neo-Nazis

  16. Support SUEPO or End Up Like They and Some of the Boards Did

    SUEPO, the fast-growing staff union of the EPO, increasingly needs the support and protection offered by action and participation from staff

  17. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe

  18. HeBS Digital and Black Duck Press Releases Treated Like Articles, Used to Muddy the FOSS Waters

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is under attack again, and it's the proprietary software lobby that's responsible for that

  19. EPO President Battistelli Now Intimidates Even National Delegations

    Report about an embarrassing incident implicating Benoît Battistelli and some angry comments cast over the witch-hunting of a judge, using all sorts of questionable tactics

  20. A Look at the Latest Gross Deletionism at the EPO's 'Media Partner', French Newspaper Les Échos

    The EPO's bogus 'journal of record, which Team Battistelli likes to cite in order to bolster its warped version of events at the EPO while maintaining a close secret relationship with the publisher, keeps censoring its own reporters (spiked paragraphs, silently self-censored or censored after publications)

  21. Rumour About Efforts to Dismiss a Board Judge by Intimidating Boards of Appeal

    Comment found online accuses the Administrative Council of pressuring, by threats, Directorate-General 3 to dismiss a judge who is silently accused (with selective 'leaks' to the media, reportedly orchestrated by EPO managers) but not even proven guilty

  22. President Battistelli Now Pressures/Threatens Politicians Who 'Dare' to Complain About Abuses and Unacceptable Conditions at the EPO

    Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, a French politician, unleashes an angry letter from Benoît Battistelli and reveals just to what lengths the EPO's Team Battistelli is willing to go in order to crush political backlash

  23. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part IV

    Some more background information about Elodie Bergot and Gilles Requena, who are married whilst also sharing positions of power at the EPO (and also strong connections/ties with the EPO's President, Mr. Battistelli); Rumours afloat at the EPO -- some with ever-increasing circulation too -- are worth noting

  24. Translation of Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann's Article in the German Media, Urging European Politicians to Intervene in EPO Chaos and Lawlessness

    Frankfurt-based media presents an opinion piece written by a Munich-based economic correspondent, Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann

  25. German Press Says Broken EPO Lets President Severely Punish Staff Not Even Guilty of Any Wrongdoing

    Juve publishes an article which attempts to be 'balanced' (meaning it believes everything that EPO officials say) but at the same time reveals unacceptable practices that go in inside the EPO

  26. German Media Reveals That Out-of-Control EPO Management is Even Threatening and Abusing Lawyers Now

    The EPO's longstanding fight against justice escalates to an unprecedented war on lawyers themselves; “After this latest move,” says a German newspaper, “even lawyers are starting to feel threatened by the Office.”

  27. Washington Post Only Entertains Debate About Patent Trolls (But Not Patent Scope) Whilst US Lawyers Trick the System to Patent Software

    The Bezos-owned Washington Post continues to help those who wish to eliminate patent trolls (which bother Amazon amongst other large conglomerates) but remains void of any coverage about patent scope, including software patents that patent lawyers work so hard to defend

  28. It Pays (Off) to 'Bribe' the Media: Watch How Les Échos Covers EPO Matters and Self-Censors

    French newspaper Les Échos is self-censoring yet again and it is framing the EPO scandals as the fault of employees, not the fault of abusive managers who are working with Les Échos as a so-called 'media partner' (the EPO management is French-dominated)

  29. 'Leaked' PDF Shows How EPO Management Tried to Crush Judge Who 'Dared' to Criticise EPO Management

    The EPO's management continues to chill potential critics and is now making an example of a board's judge, despite having no such authority over him

  30. Links 21/11/2015: Community Appreciation Day, Jolla's Problems

    Links for the day


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