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08.26.09

Another Warning Sign for Mono Proponents: NTFS and FAT

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 1:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The strength of this platform [C#] and the innovation around it is the key element in preventing commodization by Linux, our installed base and Network Appliance vendors.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Summary: Another new lesson on the dangers of mimicking Windows functionality

EARLIER in the day we wrote about people who try to turn GNU/Linux into some kind of a clone of Windows. They do so despite lack of interest from both users and developers. To make matters worse, Microsoft’s “promise” for Moonlight and Mono was deemed insufficient. Lessons ought to have been learned from Microsoft's attack on free implementations of FAT and Microsoft is now doing the same thing to NTFS, which some hardware manufacturers tactlessly embed by default.

The significant news comes through this press release from Tuxera. For those who do not know, “Tuxera was the first to implement reliable NTFS read/write support on Linux, Mac OS X, and other systems.”

Oddly enough, Tuxera is not bashful about lending its voice to Microsoft’s patent attacks and the Microsoft crowd seems ecstatic.

On August 26, Tuxera Ltd anounced it has signed an intellectual-property (IP) licensing agreement with Microsoft; joined Microsoft’s exFAT driver-licensing program; and joined the Microsoft Interop Vendor Alliance. Tuxera, based in Helsinki, Finland, was founded by the NTFS-3G open-source project.

According to The H (Heise):

Tuxera has announced an “extensive co-operation” with Microsoft. Tuxera, the company formed by the NTFS-3G developers, has signed an Intellectual Property Agreement with Microsoft and joined its exFAT Programme.

[...]

Tuxera’s CTO, Szabolcs Szakacsits said he looked forward to working with OEM customers saying “Adding exFAT into our existing NTFS product portfolio is the logical next step”. The exFAT driver is aimed at OEM manufacturers and will be available for Linux first, but no details of any open source plans for exFAT were disclosed.

Tuxera seems to be a very small proprietary software company, based on its Web site. NTFS-3G was considered open source however and the agreement around it is secret.

Tuxera, the Finnish company behind open-source file system NTFS-3G, has announced a confidential intellectual-property deal with Microsoft, under which it will be permitted to carry on distributing its open-source NTFS product and to offer new exFAT drivers.

Tuxera is based in Finland, where software patents are invalid. What were they thinking?

Could Microsoft have rewarded Tuxera in some way in order to rattle the NTFS case? We shall soon find out, hopefully. The secrecy around this deal may be part of the FUD factor that’s desirable to Microsoft.

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3 Comments

  1. Charles Oliver said,

    August 26, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Gravatar

    It seems like a month doesn’t pass without two of these agreements being signed.

    Whoever the muscle are in Microsoft, encouraging people to pay the protection, they must be very good at their job. I wonder if there will be a free Linux left in a few years.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I wonder if there will be a free Linux left in a few years.

    A different question to ask is, will there be Windows left in a few years? Microsoft’s profit has fallen by a third for two consecutive quarters. That’s why it it so busy attacking GNU/Linux, without success.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 26, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m not alone in thinking that something smelled funny. I’ll quote here all the comments I’ve come across so far.

    James E LaBarre: I smell bribery

    I smell either gross incompetence, or BRIBES paid to SDCA members. Once again, the customer gets s c r e w e d.

    Also:

    “Microsoft is a great partner.”

    They’ll find out just how “great” MS is as a partner, a year or so down the line.

    And also:

    “As an open source company, we feel excited to sign an intellectual property agreement with Microsoft. They are a great partner, and I am confident that our agreements, and this collaboration, will ensure a bright future for file system interoperability and data portability that benefits device manufacturers and consumers alike,” says Mikko Valimaki, Tuxera CEO.

    That is it? No explanation as to what the details of the agreement are? And this is in spite of all the horrible context surrounding similar agreements? This is ridiculous.

    Then:

    wow…..they really offered alot of info as to the licensing details.. under what terms can they distribute what they create.. ?

    GreyGeek: A History of Microsoft partnerships

    Microsoft has even used the partnership scheme to battle Linux on its own turf with the “deal” it made with Novell in November of 2006. It has made partnership deals (always veiled with NDA’s) with several less popular commercial distros since then, which hasn’t helped the distros popularity or income, but does give Microsoft courtroom ammo for claiming that several Linux businesses “admit” to using MS IP in Linux. That’s probably what the NDAs conceal.

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