Summary: Red Hat’s fight against software patents is on; Microsoft tries introducing an era of ‘Linux tax’ and ‘Android tax’ through Tuxera
RED HAT’S attitude towards software patents is a subject that we covered some days ago. According to the article “Red Hat CEO Whitehurst Blasts Software Patents,” the company makes it abundantly clear that it wants software patents to go away. The vast majority of the world already rejects software patents.
Red Hat is the biggest open source software company, but it’s got a long way to go, says the company’s chief executive Jim Whitehurst.
On a visit to London he criticised software patents, spoke on the difficulty of changing public sector practices, and repeated a goal to make Red Hat a £1 billion company next year – after re-affirming the company’s strategy.
As is well known, Red Hat contributes to the fast-moving Linux development process, but ships releases which are “frozen” every three years and which are controlled and supported for ten years. “If you don’t control the code, how can you provide SLAs [service level agreements]?”
Red Hat spends millions of dollars per release, which allows it to make it solid enough for people to build trading applications on top of it. And of course, as he is fond of pointing out, “over half the world’s equity trades happen on top of Red Hat Enterprise Linux,” because it is – he believes – the world’s most secure and stable operating system.
“Bits are free and functionality is free,” he said. What the company sells is innovation and stability – and it’s never raised the price of the product.
As we have been showing over the years, Microsoft uses other companies to ‘inject’ its software patents and its ‘Linux tax’ into companies that reject it. Among the examples we gave there is Novell, Likewise as a Samba substitute, Amazon as a company that pays Microsoft for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and there is also Tuxera, which we mentioned twice in recent days [1, 2].
Tuxera spreads this notion of Microsoft ‘Linux tax’ (software patents) through Microsoft’s exFAT, which it is currently promoting for both Linux and Android. Tuxera also announced an “American expansion” [1, 2] and Julie from the Microsoft Subnet calls it “good news” (it’s certainly good news to Microsoft).
Good news for anyone that uses an Android (or Linux) cell phone, mobile device or PC. Tuxera has released its long-awaited specification that makes the new SDXC memory cards compatible with Android or other Linux flavors.
That’s terrible, it’s not good news. Microsoft uses them to impose a patent tax on gullible users or those who do not have a chance of avoiding it (e.g. if it’s pre-packaged). Companies which help Microsoft assign royalties to Linux deserve to be avoided, publicly shunned, and even boycotted. It’s the only way to prevent this. █