01.01.10

Centrify, Microsoft, and Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, FUD, GNU/Linux, IBM, Interoperability, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Samba at 7:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Centrify

Summary: How Centrify is strengthening Microsoft’s patent FUD against GNU/Linux; Microsoft’s patent violations and attacks on GNU/Linux explored further

When it comes to Microsoft Active Directory (AD), Microsoft is playing games with software patents. Back in September we wrote about what LikeWise was doing to Samba (not for the first time) and we are finding similarities in Centrify Corporation, whose Chief Technology Officerwas a Program Manager in Microsoft’s Windows 2000 development group, where, among other things, he drove the integration between Active Directory and the Windows 2000 enterprise print subsystem. Moore also represented Microsoft on various industry standards committees, and authored several RFCs and other industry standards.” It’s just like LikeWise and Centrify too is Bellevue-based (Microsoft’s back yard). They establish Microsoft AD as the industry ‘standard’, under the pretense of helping other platforms (same with Mono and Moonlight). One might argue that they act as a peripheral extension of the Microsoft monopoly.

“They establish Microsoft AD as the industry ’standard’, under the pretense of helping other platforms (same with Mono and Moonlight).”At the top of the page it says that “Centrify is led by a team of senior executives from industry leaders such as NetIQ, Microsoft, Computer Associates and Novell.” Well, we already know that Centrify is working with Novell's SUSE. “Our partners include Microsoft, Red Hat, Novell, VMware, Apple and others,” says the corporate overview and there is clear evidence that Microsoft and Centrify are partners based on both companies’ Web sites.

Why does this matter? Well, in 2008 Centrify sort of defended rather than denounced Microsoft's patent allegations against GNU/Linux. It called it an “off-topic” post. Moreover, Centrify has just issued the following press release:

Centrify Awarded Patent in Identity Management of UNIX and Linux Systems

Centrify Corporation, the leading provider of Microsoft Active Directory-based identity and access management and auditing solutions for non-Microsoft platforms, today announced it has been awarded patent #7,591,005 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patented technology facilitates the capability for UNIX and Linux service accounts and root accounts to be authenticated within a centralized directory.

Wow. Software patents. Clients who are using GNU/Linux must be very, very impressed.

It ought to be added that Microsoft itself is violating software patents, even deliberately. CNN presents this post-mortem of the i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. In it, i4i explains how to win against Microsoft despite its abuse of the legal system (Microsoft was fined for trial misconduct in the i4i case and also abused the legal system by dodging local courts in India, then fined for it).

i4i’s tips include:

Prepare your case. When it comes to taking on a company the size and stature of Microsoft, don’t expect legal eagles to bang down your door.

Instead, Owen says, “we assembled the [patent infringement] claim, the background and the history in an extraordinarily detailed, analytical way. We prepared the case as best we could independently before meeting with leading counsel and luminaries in the industry.”

Don’t lose track of your day job. A much-ballyhooed, two-year legal battle against Microsoft can significantly distract employees and completely consume a company’s top brass.

We are still stressing rather strongly that Microsoft’s EDGI may be a violation of the law. We wrote about this a few days ago and last night we found another new post about it:

Microsoft wants to hire an anti Linux Guru

Steve Balmer, the CEO of Microsoft gets pretty scared by the success of Linux & other Open Source Software. Microsoft wants to hire a so-called “Linux and Open Office Compete Lead”, as the job description in one their recent marketing job ads shows.

Microsoft is also attacking GNU/Linux using software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Those who do not help abolish those are unfortunately part of the problem. This includes IBM, Novell, and Apple.

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