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05.20.09

Microsoft and the Linux Foundation Not “Best Friends Forever”

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Law, Microsoft at 2:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cupid

Summary: Refutation of spin by pro-Microsoft journalists

WE COULD NOT help noticing that Microsoft boosters are characterising consent on a triviality as some sort of a peace deal between Linux and Microsoft. Mary Jo Foley, for example, tries to insinuate that Horacio Gutierrez, one of the key people behind the legal assault on Linux, is somehow changing his feelings or mind. It’s not true at all. Wishful thinking.

Truth can, indeed, be stranger than fiction — as is evidenced by a May 14 letter on software-licensing policies that was signed by both Microsoft and Linux Foundation officials.

The letter, which the two sent to to the American Law Institute (ALI), was designed to “express our shared concerns with the group’s draft Principles of the Law of Software Contracts,” according to a blog post by Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel.

All the early reports about this seem to come principally from Microsoft-focused reporters*, including Nancy Gohring at IDG:

Microsoft, Linux join forces in software law debate

They urge the ALI specifically to clarify a section of its document that concerns warranties on defects in software. The document appears to absolve commercial open-source software from the types of warranties that would be applied to proprietary software. But because many open-source software providers make money, such as through advertising, it’s unclear if such providers would be liable for defects according to the document.

This is not the first time that such a thing happens (even the SFLC and Microsoft), so this is nothing new. It’s about liability. Todd Bishop may have spun this a little too widely when he used the headline: “Best Friends Forever: Microsoft and the Linux Foundation?”

He is spinning this as though Microsoft makes peace with what it sues, constantly threatens, and calls “cancer”. It could not be further from the truth. In this case, two opposing groups found common ground on technical issues of liability, but Microsoft refuses to bury its hatchet (slanderous unspecific claims of patent infringement), so this is not a case of “Best Friends Forever” as Todd Bishop puts it (with a question mark to be fair).

Additional new coverage of this could be found later in:

It is important to observe that Microsoft-oriented reporters are acutely aware of the company’s overly aggressive behaviour. Mary Jo Foley says that she has always been a skeptic. Therefore, in order to perfume what they do (to themselves and to others such as readers) they try to portray Microsoft as a friendly creature that would harm almost no-one. Being sedated is the worst one can do when Microsoft carries on with its “smile while you squeeze the trigger” attitude towards the competition. We wrote about an example of this attitude just a few hours ago (regarding ODF).

“In the last several days Microsoft has shown that despite claims of acquiring a newly found respect for open principles and technology, developers should be cautious in believing promises made by this “new” Microsoft. [...] There is one other fact clear from this case. Microsoft does not appear to be a leopard capable of changing its spots. Maybe it’s time developers go on a diet from Microsoft and get the FAT out of their products.”

Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation Executive Director

____
* It’s possible that Microsoft or Waggener Edstrom seeded it.

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A Single Comment

  1. Yfrwlf said,

    May 21, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Gravatar

    LOL, that’s just great, they sue TomTom for patent legal crap, a huge chilling force in the software world, and then in the same breath say “oooh we’re pals with Linux because of this!” as they talk about the chilling effect “damages” litigation could have if software was held responsible for crashing.

    Attack others when you have the upper hand (patent portfolio) but try to pretend you’re loving when someone is actually a threat (software warranties).

    Yeah, that’s a real change alright.

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