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 30/10/2014: GNOME 3.15.1, Red Hat Software Collections 1.2

    Links for the day



  2. Links 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

    Links for the day



  3. Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

    Links for the day



  4. Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as 'Fakes'

    Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers



  6. How Bill Gates Continues to Pass Wealth From the Public to His Own Bank Account

    Having put a universal tax on many things (not just computers) and evaded tax using the classic 'charity' trick, Gates is now buying the media, the schools, politicians etc. and earns as much as 10 billion dollars per year while the public is taught that Gates is a giver, not a hoarder of the worst kind



  7. Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  9. Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

    Links for the day



  10. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  11. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  12. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  13. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  14. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  15. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  16. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  17. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  18. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  19. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  20. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  21. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  22. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  23. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  24. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  25. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  26. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  27. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  28. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  29. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  30. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day


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