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11.03.09

Microsoft’s Software Patents Racket Against GNU/Linux Tightens Further

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Kernel, Microsoft, Samsung, Scalix, Steve Ballmer, Xandros at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Companies that screw Free software by paying Microsoft for unnamed software patents grow even closer to Microsoft

Samsung Electronics, one of the companies that help Microsoft put a patent tax (and price tag) on Linux [1, 2, 3], is growing closer to Microsoft. From The Inquirer:

Microsoft and Samsung agree to help each other

[...]

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Samsung Electronics CEO Yoon-Woo Lee met and decided to work together to encourage users to buy more environmentally friendly PCs.

It is difficult to boycott Samsung because many computer components are made by it (even if there is no visible sign of branding). This company is probably larger in terms of staff size than all the software giants in the United States combined.

There are some Samsung products that are easy to boycott nonetheless. We recently gave Samsung's LiMo phones as an example. It turns out that some of these will be “rebadged” as Vodafone, according to the following:

Made by Samsung but rebadged as a Vodafone 360 mobile, the H1 has a 3.5-inch OLED screen, 16GB of storage, Wi-Fi, and a 5.0-megapixel camera.

The Vodafone 360 is a phone to boycott because the Linux inside it provides means by which Microsoft applies software patents to Linux. Samsung is said to have shipped 60.2 million handsets this quarter, so such patent tax does add up and it is dangerous as a precedence. There is newer information here and here, but no publication bothers to mention Samsung’s strong relationship with Microsoft and their patent deal. The following article describes it all just as “Linux”, we call it “Ballnux”

Linux is Here, the Vodafone 360 H1

Linux Mobile is one of the underdogs of mobile operating systems. Playing practically the same role they have with desktop computers, Linux systems tend to play more towards function and practicality over style and form. This is usually compensated by skinning and other customization options. With mobile phones, their position is a little more accepted than with computers. Since mobile applications are easily ported to other platforms, the Linux mobile operating system does not share the same problem as Linux based computers; direct compatibility with a lot of programs.

We happen to find a lot of the same coming from Xandros. For the uninitiated, Xandros signed a Novell-like patent deal with Microsoft back in 2007 and it also bought Scalix, which pays Microsoft for ActiveSync software patents. Scalix claims to be expanding this dangerous patent tax under the guise/flag of “Linux” and the Xandros relationship with ASUS is not over yet.

Xandros today announced that key staff will host a session on “Enhanced Moblin for the Asus Eee PC: Custom Dual-Mode Netbook Experience” at the Moblin Roadshow, The Westin Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan, October 29, 2009.

Based on the following press release (also here), Xandros is overlapping Microsoft and its ecosystem.

Microsoft Gold Partner Infront Delivers BridgeWays Cross-Platform System Center Solutions in North America

BridgeWays, a division of Xandros Inc., today announced an agreement with Infront Consulting Group to deliver cross-platform management packs, training, and consulting services to Microsoft Systems Center customers in North America with mixed software and hardware environments.

It is not a coincidence that near allies of Microsoft were the ones to sell Linux out. It is not something that came after the patent deals had been signed. In other words, fortunately enough, companies that were never truly loyal to Free software have already shown where they stand. Now is the time to avoid these companies and explain to them why they are rejected. By participating in GNU/Linux they actually did more harm than good — probably more harm than if they had never come to GNU/Linux in the first place.

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