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07.26.09

Linux Demonstrates the Upper Hand of the GPL and Microsoft’s Inability to Defeat It

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer scared of GPLv3

Summary: More analysis of Microsoft’s approach to competitors’ territory

WITH Microsoft’s poor financial results [1, 2], it ought to find itself glued to the corner. Carla from Linux Today explains why Richard Stallman’s GPL is probably the biggest winner in the news about Microsoft’s loadable module for Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Put simply, the GPL prevented exclusion and discrimination

This has been an amusing story for this week. In a nutshell, Microsoft got busted for a GPL violation. The developer who discovered this, Stephen Hemminger of Vyatta, chose to handle it thusly:

“Rather than creating noise, my goal was to resolve the problem, so I turned to Greg Kroah-Hartman. Since Novell has a (too) close association with Microsoft, my expectation was that Greg could prod the right people to get the issue resolved.”

It took over two years, but finally MS came into compliance and then released the source code with much fanfare and self-congratulations. It is a driver to enhance Linux guest performance on their Hyper-V virtualizer. There is a lot of good news in this story, but not of the kind that Microsoft wants us to believe.

[...]

They can’t even limit this to Novell SUSE Linux because it is GPL, and so any Linux distributor can tweak it to suit.

While Microsoft is not abusing with exclusion (as was intended, but simply was not allowed), the monopolist is still abusing with software patents. The other day we wrote about its renewed FUD against Red Hat, which still gets it scrutinised in public.

Software giant criticised for enforcing patent rights on open-source-related technology.

Microsoft is not only abusing with patents; it can still abuse with exclusion in some other areas. For instance, the other day Con said: “It’s nice of Bill to make these available in a Microsoft-only video format.” Not so long ago, Gates did the same thing with Feynman's lectures, preventing GNU/Linux users from accessing them.

According to Dana Blankenhorn, Microsoft’s module for Linux was partly motivated by its own fear that it was growing irrelevant.

The monopoly days are dead. But better days may yet come, if Microsoft can learn to monetize like its new competitors have.

Microsoft is now busy trying to monopolise “open source”. As Steve Ballmer put it, “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Some days ago we wrote about the real purpose of Microsoft's plug-in for Moodle. Sadly, however, bigger publications fail or refuse to see it. Even educators are misunderstanding the plot, which is well captured by the following sentence

First: Microsoft is doing this for itself, and that’s no big deal.

What many people forget is that Microsoft directly competes against the LAMP stack, which makes its contributions to parts of this stack highly suspect. Any comparison between IBM’s contributions to LAMP and Microsoft’s contributions to LAMP is inherently flawed, naturally.

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

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2 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    July 26, 2009 at 7:16 am

    Gravatar

    Mind you, IBM did a huge amount of the work to make Apache work well on NT, because WebSphere is based on it …

    Microsoft’s problem with WAMP is that you can reliably double or triple performance (literally, double or triple) just by swapping out the OS from underneath. So no-one runs AMP on Windows unless they’re forced to. And then when it’s a choice between spending money on new hardware or putting Unix underneath … guess which one happens.

    But it’s OK! Windows Python now runs well on Wine! So you can run the Windows binaries of this Unix software on Linux after all ;-)

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    July 26, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Gravatar

    In fact, tridge posted a revised version of the MS FAT LFN patent workaround patch only hours after MS’s Hyper-V Linux patch:
    http://lkml.org/lkml/2009/7/20/425

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