07.27.08

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Microsoft Hates Apache, Wanted to Sue It, Now Wants to Ruin It

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, SCO, Security, Vista, Windows at 2:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EEE theory

Yesterday we presented various possible explanations for Microsoft's investment in its direct competitor, Apache. It would be unnatural to believe that a commercial entity did this for goodwill alone. There is surely something to be gained; an expectation, condition, an opportunity. It is important to understand motive.

As expected, the discussion about this subject resumes, most notably in Technocrat (Bruce Perens’ site). He has been pursuing this for quite some time as he hawked Apache. His immediate instinct was negative and he now shares the story about Microsoft planning to sue Apache. As a high-level official, he knew something confidential.

And then I got stuck with keeping the secret of Microsoft’s plans to bring suit against Open Source developers, for years. All of that time, I felt that I was being disloyal to my own community. This finally came out after I was long gone from HP.

Microsoft backed SCO’s lawsuit after releasing this information to HP.

For information about Microsoft’s connection with SCO, start here. More recent developments are covered in [1, 2, 3].

The incident that Perens refers to was properly documented by Joe Barr, who was never shy to expose Microsoft’s bad behaviour [1, 2, 3].

The memo — its full text is provided later in the story, along with HP’s response — briefly explains a patent cross-licensing deal between HP and Microsoft. By itself, that’s not a big deal, especially since it was sent two years ago. But the memo asserts that “Microsoft will soon be launching a patent-based legal offensive against Linux and other free software projects.” Leaders in the open source community have been warning of such attacks for some time. The memo reveals there may be very good reason for the worry.

That’s the same HP that now has some level of influence/control over GNOME, engages in collusion schemes with Microsoft, spreads Silverlight (i.e. poisons the open Web), promotes Microsoft Web services, and lobbies for Microsoft's OOXML, essentially intervening with a process it should stay out of.

Here comes the interesting part.

Yesterday it was argued by some people that Microsoft could or would ‘extend’ Apache to better suit Microsoft’s business goals. Here is one newer speculation.

Ladies & Gentlemen I give you Web 2.0, the new and improved thin client cum cloud computing model where all you need to do anything is a browser and a fat pipe.

And what do browsers send GET requests to?

Penny dropping yet?

So Microsoft 7 ships with what used to be once the Berkeley TCP/IP stack for network communications and with what used to be once the Apache web server for Web 2.0, in EXACTLY the same way that Internet Explorer was bundled in the past, Web 2.0 requires a browser to be bundled with the OS and integrated into it.

When I say “Microsoft 7″ I mean of course every version from Microsoft 7 Embedded to Microsoft 7 Godzilla Enterprise Server, they will all ship with the default, ooh, let’s pick a catchy name, MicroSoft Internet Foundry, so default MSIE and MSIF neatly complementing each other.

By 2011 we can have MS in Court facing anti trust charges, but as with MSIE by then the damage will be done, and maybe Mitchell Baker will be doing a Marc Andressen and praising MS for embracing a Open Source code and making the net a better place.

To be fair, if MS had not embraced and extended the Berkeley TCP/IP stack the internet as we know it today would be a very different place, and that includes the Apache web server as we know it today.

In the meantime…

All your Web 2.0 are belong to us.

signed, MicroSoft.

One person who was in touch with us a few months ago predicted that Microsoft would ‘extend’ TCP/IP with DRM (or TPM). The DRM infrastructure and the wholly-new stack that come in Vista may only be a preparation for this. See this old article:

Researchers with Symantec’s advanced threat team poked through Vista’s new network stack in several recent builds of the still-under-construction operating system, and found several bugs — some of which have been fixed, including a few in Monday’s release — as well as broader evidence that the rewrite of the networking code could easily lead to problems.

If it’s not broken, why ‘fix’ it? Why does Microsoft rewrite the stack from scratch, possibly under the guise of “security”, where security means control?

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5 Comments

  1. Victor Soliz said,

    July 28, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Gravatar

    I think, this is all about DRM and not about suing Apache, MS might sue Apache, one day but it will not be in relation to this. It is quite certain the priority here is not (MS’) imaginary property else they wouldn’t have accepted the L-GPL. You can say this is for a bigger, much more evil project…

  2. Aaron Farr said,

    July 28, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Gravatar

    You know, you could always just, I dont’ know, maybe go ask some of the Apache committers what’s going on rather than say, make stuff up. This is getting ridiculous.

    First off, Microsoft could ship with Apache software _before_ the sponsorship. It’s already open source. They get _nothing_ from the sponsorship money that helps them get the web server running on Windows, so I don’t see this line of thinking working out.

    The linked article is clearly just speculation and not even good speculation. You people need to work harder on your conspiracy theories.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 28, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Gravatar

    Aaron, I never suggested it was about committal of code. I don’t think it is. Microsoft doesn’t commit to the Free Desktop either, but it paid a lot of money to Novell and it has been getting its money’s worth.

    You know, Microsoft has also been sending the Firefox team at Mozilla some cakes and invited them to Redmond to work on Windows compatibility (at the expense of time spent on other platforms). And then there’s Zend.

    People live and learn. I’ve seen Microsoft back-stabbing partners time after time after time. It’s not a charity and it’s not even ethical.

    I received this E-mail from a friend a few hours ago (partly related to this):


    Basically, SCO was baseless and is kept alive by MS funding and MS party activists. However, I’m sure at some point it became apparent that it could work if there were real licensing issues to be found. So: a short “truce” with Novell to spend 5 years frantically injecting licensed technology into every possible project. e.g. GNOME, Ubuntu

    Apache has been the major obstacle for following through on the strategy outlined in the “Halloween Documents” It keeps TCP/IP and HTTP on top. However, I notice that more and more MS shops are quietly (secretly) pulling the plug on other standards like DNS, at least in-house and behind the smoke screen of a firewall and ‘security’.

    One thing that just occurs to me is that this distracts from the catastrophic bank failures in Europe induced by ideologs shoehorning MS Sharepoint into banking without regard even to basic phases of software engineering or product evaluation. Mismanagement.

  4. Allan Frisby said,

    December 4, 2008 at 4:44 am

    Gravatar

    This sounds kinda kooky – I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying, but you have to accept that, businesses, as they have been doing for thousands of years normally try to uphold their interests, whichever way possible.

    This just reads like a conspiracy nut’s rambling about someone what may have wronged them in the past. The whole ‘Microsoft is evil’ is even more tired – there’s many reasons why they hold a 90% share in world desktops, the one that sticks out the most is that manufacturers and corporations don’t want to roll out organic, ever changing, open-source applications. They would prefer to pay an up-front fee for something that may not be perfect, but generally everything built for it ‘just works’.

    Just something to think about. Also, I am a 100% linux user, fyi. Not because I have something against Microsoft, but because it doesn’t offer me anything I can’t figure out for myself on linux.

  5. pcolon said,

    December 4, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Gravatar

    that may not be perfect, but generally everything built for it ‘just works’.

    Why then would Microsoft need the Mojave advertisements?
    Why haven’t they fixed Vista? It’s been 2 years and all you hear is “Windows 7″

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