EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.24.10

When Microsoft Racketeering Meets Apathy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Where are we on this Jihad?”

Bill Gates

Summary: Microsoft’s extortion racket against Free software is debated further and the Linux Foundation, which is not opposed to software patents, chooses to ignore the problem

IN OUR PREVIOUS TWO posts about the Amazon patent deal with Microsoft [1, 2] we called for a boycott against Amazon and complaints about Microsoft, which are hinged on the RICO Act. Microsoft has become a rogue corporation that operates based on threats or retaliation and that’s just neither acceptable nor legal. “I’m outraged,” says this one person who explains what Microsoft is doing here:

Every time I read about these ‘secret’ deals I’m outraged. M$ consistently alleges patent infringements in Linux without exposing the details.

So, first of all, the alleged infringements cannot be challenged, tested and validated or removed if extant, or kicked into touch if not validated. M$ use their (financial) muscle to achieve this, intimidation by any other name.

Furthermore, I’ve always understood that once a patent infringement is identified (alleged) it must be exposed to preclude profiteering. Secret deals do not satisfy this satisfy this requirement and, are in my opinion an abuse of an already discredited patent system by a discredited monopolist. It seems to me that this is just legal chicanery and legal extortion (the new version of the twenties protection racket).

Ballmer used to speak of Linux as a cancer. It seems to me that M$ are now the cancer, exhibiting all the symptoms of the development, growth and potential consequences of a cancer.

Microsoft booster Adrian Kingsley-Hughes says that “Microsoft puts an end to Amazon’s ‘free’ Linux usage” (that’s his headline) and other articles [1, 2, 3] put it more gently. Microsoft Nick just cites someone who knows better:

As my colleague Darryl Taft points out in his most excellent article on eWEEK, Microsoft has signed more than 600 licensing agreements since launching its IP licensing program in 2003, with companies ranging from Apple and Hewlett-Packard to Nikon and Fuji Xerox. Such deals help avoid those pesky patent-infringement lawsuits hated by virtually everybody except intellectual-property attorneys with Bentley payments.

Yes, that’s Hewlett-Packard (HP) in there. There is some interesting history to be seen. Consider this similarity between Dell and HP when it comes to patent cross-licensing. According to the following (and maybe it’s just incorrect), HP may have also caved somewhere along the way:

Microsoft has long maintained that free and open-source software violates 235 of its patents. It’s already used this fact to coax companies including Novell, HP and TomTom into signing patent agreements.

The deal has already stirred up open-source advocates. “If the strategy isn’t to create uncertainty around Linux, it’s hard to say what it is,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation.

What disappoints us but not exactly surprises us is that Zemlin, speaking on behalf of the Linux Foundation, says that there is “Nothing to See Here”. He writes:

Companies reach broad cross-license agreements all the time, never disclose the patents involved and don’t often issue press releases about it. Amazing how despite the “broad range of products and technology” covered in their cross license, Microsoft chose to focus on Linux and open source – distinctly calling it out from “proprietary software” and wasn’t specific about any patents.

What Zemlin might not say though is that he works for advocates of software patents. As the president of the FFII put it last night, “The Linux Foundation supports the USPTO’s drive to improve the quality of software patents.” It’s not exactly news that it's a front of IBM et al (IBM is supporting software patents) and Todd Bishop calls them “Linux boosters”, arguing that they “give a shrug to Amazon’s Microsoft patent deal” (that again is from the headline).

Well, IBM or the Linux Foundation are not spokespeople of the whole GNU/Linux system; maybe they speak for the kernel, but the operating system involves many more people and groups. Here is the ‘Microsoft press’ referring to the Novell deal in its coverage of this latest deal with Amazon.

Microsoft elicited controversy among open source Linux advocates when it announced a deal with Novell in November of 2006 over IP used in Novell’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. In May of 2007, Microsoft was accused of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt over Linux licensing after a Microsoft executive claimed that Linux violated 235 of Microsoft’s patents.

It’s Novell that came to Microsoft and started a lot of this patent crusade against GNU/Linux. This is why Boycott Novell exists.

Pamela Jones from Groklaw wrote the following text about this deal with Amazon:

Amazon isn’t a Linux company, and it sells a hardware device. And I gather Microsoft’s MO is to make any company signing up with them in a patent cross licensing deal sign an NDA, so only Microsoft speaks in public, then they put out a press release which makes claims no one can check or verify, wave their arms about Linux, then go on to the next victim. Unless they show some details, it means absolutely nothing to me, except that Microsoft is very good at marketing (fear, uncertainty and doubt.)

ZDNet makes a Nazi era analogy and Jason from The Source feels similarly (to Groklaw). Here is one report that says:

The paper also says that Microsoft has reached a patent licensing agreement with Amazon.com that gives the online retailer rights to use open source software in its Kindle e-book reader. At the moment, the Kindle uses both open source and proprietary software components made by Amazon. Under the agreement, Microsoft said Amazon will pay it an undisclosed sum.

As long as Amazon does not deny Microsoft’s statement about the Kindle and GNU/Linux servers being part of this deal, well… then Amazon is complicit.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

3 Comments

  1. your_friend said,

    February 25, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Gravatar

    No one can speak for the Linux kernel, it is free software and has no owners. The Linux Foundation may do good or bad things to Linux and they own the trademark, but ultimately, GNU/Linux belongs to each person who uses it as long as the user avoids non free software. Linux itself is only one of many free kernels.

    Software patents threaten all software freedom and the Linux Foundation will learn this at great and immediate cost. ACTA, if it’s as bad as people fear, will allow the people who stole the first generation of free software to steal everything in the GNU/Linux world. The software will live on, in the stale and sad kind of condition that BSD lives in Windows, but the Linux Foundation and most of the wonderful companies using free software will be eliminated. People who ignore threats to their freedom for some small advantage now will learn the price of slavery later.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    February 25, 2010 at 5:25 am

    Gravatar

    Speaking of secret deals, what happened with M$ versus the UK schools? BECTA was going to publish how much the UK flushes down the drain on M$ products. How much did it turn out to be?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I don’t think they ever disclosed the numbers. If they had, I didn’t noticed.

    BECTA is no better than a parent imposing a belief system upon a child; to make matters worse, BECTA is neither a parent nor does it have a right to make that “belief system” an abusive corporation from another country.

What Else is New


  1. Links 4/8/2015: KDE.org Redesign, Point Linux 3.0

    Links for the day



  2. Microsoft Admits Vista 10 Not a 'Free' 'Upgrade', Especially If You Upgrade

    Microsoft debunks its own false promises, showing that Vista 10 as 'free' is virtually a mirage



  3. Free Software is Commercial

    orporate media helps stigmatise Free/Open Source software as unsuitable for commercial use and once again it uses the 'security' card



  4. 'Sanader’s Protégé' Željko Topić Slammed by Press in His Home Country

    The mischiefs of Benoît Battistelli and Željko Topić still not forgotten while temporary calm prevails at the EPO



  5. Links 3/8/2015: Linux 4.2 RC5, Korora 22

    Links for the day



  6. The World is Changing and Patent Law Can Change Either for Better or for Worse

    Recent secret dealings (which are being exposed to the public owing to whistle-blowers) show the degree of coordination and collusion against public interests; it's up to us, the majority, to fight back and tackle this injustice



  7. The Latest on Patent 'Reform' in the US: GOP Media Deception, Healthwashing Patents, and SIIA Lobbying

    Techrights looks at the more prominent actors driving patent policy in the US, with budget to absorb and agenda to lobby for



  8. Newegg Uses Its Fight Against Patent Trolls for Marketing

    Comments on Newegg's fight against patent trolls in court, setting an example for other companies



  9. Microsoft Lies, Propaganda, Embedded 'Journalism' and Other Dirty Tricks to Promote Vista 10

    The Vista 10 entrapment is being sold to the public using bogus/unverified figures, Microsoft propagandists pretending to be journalists, and some gullible people who actually believe them



  10. Microsoft -- Like Bill Gates -- Bribes PBS for Propaganda to be Presented as 'TV Programme'

    Microsoft pays the supposedly 'public' network to act as courier of Microsoft marketing, shrewdly disguised as 'information'



  11. Links 2/8/2015: KDE Applications 15.08 Beta, Zorin OS 10

    Links for the day



  12. Links 1/8/2015: Steam Sale, blackPanther OS 14.1

    Links for the day



  13. Vista 10 Inherently Criminal: Vandalising the Competition (Dual Boot, Rival Web Browsers, Online Services)

    Vista 10, the latest incarnation of Windows, takes its anticompetitive aspects to a whole new level, betraying even so-called 'partners' in the process



  14. As Microsoft AstroTurfing/PR Budget Runs Dry, Vista 10 Truths Come Out

    The media manipulation by Microsoft (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars spent on 'marketing') grows thin as a growing number of growingly angry early adopters of Vista 10 publicly rant



  15. Links 31/7/2015: Lennart Poettering as 'Linux Hero' and systemd Conference Coming

    Links for the day



  16. Links 30/7/2015: Apache Spark on Z System, Elive 2.6.8 Beta

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft's Mouthpiece Mary Branscombe Tries to Shoot Down Free Software, But Fails Miserably

    At the CBS-owned ZDNet, which is Free/Open Source software-hostile, new FUD surfaces, but the FUD is so flawed that a full rebuttal is easy and almost imperative



  18. People of New Zealand Must Rise Up to Defend Sovereignty and Stop Software Patents

    The TPPA serves to override (launder) the law of New Zealand, allegedly legalising patents on software in the process



  19. Microsoft Illegally Evades Billions of Dollars in Tax, Says IRS

    The criminal enterprise known as Microsoft finds itself embarrassingly exposed in the courtroom, for the IRS belatedly (decades too late) targets the company in an effort to tackle massive tax evasions



  20. Vista 10 Very Buggy Upon Release, Just as We Have Repeatedly Warned for Weeks

    Vista 10 is prematurely pushed out the door (to meet a deadline) way ahead of it being stable, even remotely polished, and supported by hardware companies (there is a serious drivers issue)



  21. Surveillance Machine With a Keylogger: Vista 10 Will Spy on the User (Over the Internet) Even While Playing Games

    Microsoft is making it clear that even playing a simple game like Solitaire on Vista 10 will make one subjected to spying (for targeted ads); other serious violations of privacy revealed upon release



  22. Links 29/7/2015: Akademy 2015 Ends, NetBSD 7.0 RC

    Links for the day



  23. MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

    A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH



  24. New Zealand's Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

    Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand



  25. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too (Updated)

    Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft's tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically



  26. The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

    Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers' money to the Mafia



  27. Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

    Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters



  28. Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug 'Branding' for FUD

    Links for the day



  29. Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

    A look at some of last week's patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)



  30. Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

    Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts