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01.22.10

Apathy Towards Microsoft is a Disease©

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents, Samba, Windows at 2:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Latest warnings about Microsoft’s ruthless and sometimes criminal behaviour comes from Samba Supreme, Jeremy Allison

THE TITLE is of course spinning the words of Linus Torvalds, who is not paying attention to what Microsoft has been up to. Yesterday we wrote about Jeremy Allison's latest warning that Mono should not be used (he said this last year as well [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]) and that Microsoft intends to harass its competition with the help of software patents.

Microsoft is already suing Linux over filesystems and the president of the FFII has just said that “Microsoft has a new license for exFAT, charging a flat $300,000 fee to manufacturers who want to use it in their products”; here is the news article he cites. We wrote about this subject before because it’s an attack on Free software.

Anyway, Allison has more to say right now and he is warning about Microsoft: [via Slashdot]

Jeremy Allison Calls Microsoft Dangerous Elephant

[...]

Allison contends the OOXML case shows the lengths Microsoft will go to in order to create lock-in, where consumers are forced to buy software or hardware from one vendor or its partners and freedom of choice is restricted.

“One of the worst things that happened out of that, [is that the ISO] which was previously respected by people that didn’t know it so well, became absolutely despised,” he said. “There are some countries now thinking of pulling out [of ISO] because it is simply not worth participating in a process that is so obviously corrupted.”

However, the result was followed by two European Commission anti-trust probes into Microsoft’s behaviour which led to a settlement where the software giant had to offer customers a choice of internet browsers.

The second probe into Microsoft’s limiting of file format choices in its Office productivity suite also led to the vendor changing track. In the end, the ODF and other non-proprietary formats were offered to consumers to fend off European Union (EU) antitrust regulators and block massive fines.

The OOXML corruption was undeniable proof that Microsoft is a criminal corporation that would not be allowed to operate unless the legal system remained dysfunctional and fearful of the corporation. Microsoft can get away with everything and here is another new example:

A federal judge has killed class-action allegations in a lawsuit that accused Microsoft of misleading consumers when it fed them anti-piracy software under the auspices of a critical security update, according to court documents.

The move means that Microsoft will not be faced with millions in potential damages. Last fall, Microsoft’s lawyers argued that a class-action lawsuit could involve “tens of millions” of customers who might be owed “hundreds of millions of dollars” if the company lost the case.

A class-action would have let virtually anyone who owned a Windows XP PC in mid-2006 to join the case without having to hire an attorney.

Without accountability for misbehaving corporations, the market is truly in trouble. We saw this with the banks when the economy collapsed, but no lessons were learned. When criticism of outlaw operations is suddenly frowned upon, what hope is there?

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10 Comments

  1. Dennis Murczak said,

    January 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Gravatar

    exFAT really worries me as an obvious attempt to obtain leverage in the device market. Hopefully the hardware makers will standardize on something that is (trouble-)free to use, like btrfs.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s more than just devices. The desktops need to connect to cameras and other gadgets.

    your_friend Reply:

    Let’s hope the makers of those gadgets also tire of $300,000 licensing fees and move to free standards. There’s no good reason for gadget makers to use fat on mass storage when they also provide software to get things off their devices without ordinary media readers.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Standards bodies or consortia ought to step in to intervene. ZRAND seems necessary (and it’s available).

  2. Dennis Murczak said,

    January 22, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Gravatar

    Yep, I forgot that obvious aspect; in many cases you need to mount the gadget as a mass storage device. Which means Microsoft can/will throw its full weight into promoting a file system that only Windows can read, while extracting money from the device makers at the same time.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It has already begun (not “will”). I heard stories from peers who could not access exFAT-formatted devices from their Linux boxes.

    Dennis Murczak Reply:

    And that is their way of battling Linux in embedded (and Linux clients too), without even having a serious embedded OS themselves. It also makes me understand why they tried to enforce a patent on their legacy FAT filesystem.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    They keep advertising exFAT these days. They last did this before Christmas.

    Also see:

    http://boycottnovell.com/wiki/index.php/Tuxera

    There’s a mess going on in embedded Windows and an SVP quit the company earlier this week. I will write about it tomorrow.

  3. Needs Sunlight said,

    January 23, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Gravatar

    “agreed to disagree” ???! Are they still using that? Just like last autumn, Microsofters were using that same canard a decade ago whenever they were caught being dead wrong and didn’t want to back down.

    http://www.itwire.com/content/view/30671/1090/1/1/

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    A lot of Novell apologists use this phrase quite a lot.

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