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

09.15.08

Companies That Fear GNU/Linux Versus Companies That Don’t

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Why Microsoft is not ‘Just Another’ patent holder

How often people forget what distinguishes Microsoft from virtually any other large company. To Microsoft, GNU/Linux is not just a low-cost option for maintaining its operations [1, 2, 3]; it is a major threat to its very few cash cows. It’s only natural for Microsoft — particularly its investors — to worry about what Microsoft’s CEO calls the company’s biggest competitor. This competitor is not a company. It’s code that is being shared and constantly improved.

“Once GNU is written, everyone will be able to obtain good system software free, just like air.”

Richard Stallman

Microsoft’s problem is that its products are not tangible. Those that are more concrete (e.g. XBox, Zune) lose an obscene amount of money. This means that Microsoft continues to rely on pure software (licences to use binary code) to keep its rental cartel going. It does not sell products. It licences products.

As a new example of the fact that most companies are apathetic towards open source (as a competitive threat at least), consider this news.

Open source patents: Four companies offer green tech to public domain

[...]

So it turns out that the Eco-Patent Commons, which I wrote about back in January, isn’t just another empty-handed cooperative industry effort.

Three new companies, Bosch, DuPont and Xerox, have joined the effort and another, Sony, has contributed an additional patent to the community.

Why apply for them in the first place? The headline seems wrong because it has nothing to do with open source, either (no code). It’s a publicity stunt at best, but regardless, these companies sell actual products. They give people ownership of what they sell.

“IBM does not need to antagonise the inevitable, unlike Microsoft.”IBM is very much focused on solutions which include services, hardware and systems architecture. Software is just one component among many, so IBM can afford to embrace GNU/Linux with patent concessions. IBM does not need to antagonise the inevitable, unlike Microsoft.

There is an ongoing argument over at LXer. It’s about whether Microsoft is just barking forever and will therefore never bite Free software with lawsuits. In reality, Microsoft can use a Sisvel-like proxy [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and we already saw Acacia assaulting Red Hat and Novell just 8 days after had hired a Microsoft general manager (of intellectual monopolies) to join its top ranks [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. We don’t know if it was just a coincidence, but it also coincided with threats from Steve Ballmer.

This post is not about creating a scare. It’s about analysing reality before (or in case) it strikes. If a company threatens GNU/Linux and someone reports the impact of it, that’s not intimidation. It’s an understanding of a threat, which can then be squashed. Knowledge is power. Ignorance is bliss, but only in the short term.

Under financial pressure [1, 2, 3, 4], Microsoft is more likely to act irrationally. Just watch this one from yesterday’s news:

In one of the most extraordinary days in Wall Street’s history, Merrill Lynch is near an 11th-hour deal with Bank of America to avert a deepening financial crisis while another storied securities firm, Lehman Brothers, hurtled toward liquidation, according to people briefed on the deal.

It’s hard to tell what Microsoft will do as it continues its eternal stagnation (it has gone on for years). According to Pamela Jones of Groklaw (context here): “I think it’s dangerous to let them [Microsoft] anywhere near anything that matters until they pledge not to sue FOSS over patent infringement. All they are doing now is taking notes, I believe, and I am confident it will use what it learns against the community when it feels like it. And I wish everyone would get a bit smarter, so we at Groklaw and the legal contingent of the FOSS community don’t have to fix the mess you make. Yes. Seriously. I would suggest treating Microsoft as if they were already suing you personally. Because I believe they will.”

She also believes that Microsoft is the next SCO, as was pointed out before. Heise wrote: “She has told Infoworld that Microsoft will be the next SCO Group; the company has been loudly rattling its patent sabres, claiming earlier this year that Linux violated mote than 235 Microsoft patents. Whether Microsoft goes beyond mere sabre rattling and whether SCO manages anything more than a last gasp is also a question of how you evaluate the course of court proceedings so far.”

Scripture

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

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

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 08, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, July 08, 2020



  2. Links 8/7/2020: SUSE to Acquire Rancher Labs, Btrfs as Default in Fedora, Qt Creator 4.12.4

    Links for the day



  3. Yes, Master

    When the Linux Foundation tells us to tone down our language we ought to remember what kind of hypocritical stance these people have (note: the above have nothing to do with slavery, either)



  4. Fraunhofer is Again Evergreening Software Patents to Maintain Its Codecs Cartel, Forcing Everyone to Pay to View/Stream Multimedia Files

    The roller-coaster of software patents on multimedia isn't stopping; we know the culprits who can be named for perpetuating this injustice



  5. [Humour/Meme] Focusing on the Bombings and Who's Included in the Bombings

    Supremacist agenda disguised as "tolerant and inclusive" is still objectionable supremacist agenda



  6. Manners Are a Good Thing. The Yardstick or the Standard of Manners Changes Over Time.

    Entirely legitimate grievances of African-Americans are being exploited by people who aren’t even African-American (and usually don’t speak for African-Americans) to warp the debate from one about software ethics and technical issues, not to mention war crimes of companies that employ many programmers, to something which is unlikely to really help African-Americans (also, they don't employ any African-Americans)



  7. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, July 07, 2020



  8. Links 8/7/2020: Huawei’s GNU/Linux PC, Sparky 5.12, and Endless OS 3.8.4 Released

    Links for the day



  9. [Humour] Television Channels That Don't Speak of Real Looting But Participate in Looting

    People may need to look beyond (or outside) the television screen to grasp what's going on



  10. (Software) Freedom is Elusive Without the Ability to Concentrate

    Software is consuming people's minds; to make matters worse, people have become so attached to such software that they're unable to see it and get away from it (they associate that software with "social life")



  11. Monopolies Erode Freedom, Freedom Erodes Monopolies

    "There are so many reasons that GitHub makes projects less free."



  12. Links 7/7/2020: NomadBSD 1.3.2, Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 and DRM Comes to Cars

    Links for the day



  13. [Humour] IAM Ranked Top for Quality of EPO Propaganda

    Contrary to what the European Patent Office (EPO) keeps saying, patent quality is slipping very fast in Europe (based on the EPO's own analysis!) but patent trolls-funded publishers deny that



  14. When They're Done With Patents on Foods and Recipes They'll Have Patents on Fashion, Taste and Smell

    The mental dysfunction — an infectious condition — that says everything in the world must be patented should be resisted; it overlooks the fact that patents were introduced to protect/promote actual invention, not thoughts, feelings, nature and art



  15. [Humour/Meme] IBM's Money is Unhealthy to the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    IBM will never be happy as long as RMS (Richard Stallman) has a say in the FSF — directly or indirectly — or even in the GNU Project, both of which he himself created back when IBM was the biggest monopolist



  16. IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, July 06, 2020



  17. Never Let IBM/Red Hat Lecture Us on Morality

    Ethics and morality should not be taught by those who themselves need a lesson; in the meantime we're losing the courage to speak freely and those who commit atrocious acts like it a lot better that way



  18. [Humour/Meme] Wear the Red Hat as the Open Org Becomes Openwash

    IBM is changing Red Hat and not for the better; sooner or later IBM will become another Microsoft and changing from one to the other will be like swapping 'masters'



  19. IBM is Imposing Non-Free, Privacy-Infringing Tools and Patent Tolls on Red Hat Staff

    There are signs that Red Hat under IBM will be more like assimilation to IBM, not IBM assimilating to the 'Red Hat way' or the so-called 'open org'



  20. They Tell the Free Software Community That It is Racist While Saying Nothing at All About Trump's Racism (Because He Gives Them Government and Military Contracts)

    While their president compares 'foreign' people to a virus (using innuendo, dog whistles and racist rhetoric reminiscent of the Nazi era) the big US corporations (American surveillance giants) turn their attention to rather innocuous words inside people's code (which almost nobody sees anyway)



  21. LibreOffice 'Personal Edition' Seems Like a Marketing and Communication Fluke

    Had LibreOffice developers (and the Document Foundation) communicated these changes more openly, they would have averted/avoided some of the FUD



  22. It Almost Feels Like Microsoft Has Already 'Bought' Canonical

    Canonical's disturbing trajectory and betrayal of the community continue unabated; one can easily get the impression that Ubuntu exists to help Microsoft at some level



  23. Update to GNU Project Bleeding into Microsoft

    Update



  24. Microsoft is Going to Get Tired of Whining About “GAFA” and Accept That It's Just as Bad If Not a Lot Worse at Privacy

    Microsoft is being treated by the US government as if it's not abusing anything, let alone people's privacy; if anything, this demonstrates the degree to which Microsoft infiltrated or 'vendor-captured' regulatory branches



  25. Links 6/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 RC1, MX-19.2 KDE Beta 1, Linux 5.8 RC4

    Links for the day



  26. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section: Linux is Full of Problems and It Loves/Embraces Software Patents

    Software patents promotion and GNU/Linux FUD; your daily dosage of 'news' from the tabloid known as ZDNet...



  27. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, July 05, 2020



  28. Links 5/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Mate Beta and GNOME Gingerblue

    Links for the day



  29. Technological Progress? Only If We Assume The Wrong Things...

    When we're told that we're all dumb we're being given increasingly dumb technology (and they tell us dumber is better)



  30. Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely -- and More Over Time -- by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

    The Linux Foundation‘s growing role in spying or the focus on data-mining operations is an eternal reminder or warning that the Foundation follows power and money, not freedom or ethics (it began as a salary-paying venture, crowdfunding among large corporations which conduct mass surveillance)


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