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01.17.11

Microsoft’s Partner Tuxera Tries to Add Patent Tax to Android Through Linux, Intel Plays Along With MeeGo

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Patents at 5:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Penguins in South Africa

Summary: Android and MeeGo the latest targets of ‘Microsoft tax’ through clone file systems that Tuxera is pushing

The company known as Tuxera signed a deal with Microsoft and then started selling patent licences (fines) to Linux users. Not so long ago it started doing this to Android users too (with exFAT) and now it is doing this with FAT32. From the press release:

Tuxera Inc., the leading provider of Windows-compatible file systems for Android, Linux, Mac and other platforms, announced today the release of a complete, GPL-compliant FAT32 replacement package for Android and Linux. The package combines Tuxera’s high-performance, proprietary FAT, FAT32, exFAT and NTFS drivers into easy-to-deploy modules that work with all Android and Linux kernel versions.

Even Intel gets involved in this by joining an alliance that “Integrates NTFS, exFAT, FAT32 and HFS+ Into Intel® AtomTM Solutions, MeeGo Linux”. To quote the press release:

Tuxera, the leading provider of Windows and Mac compatible file systems for Android, Linux and other platforms, announced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that it has joined Intel Embedded Alliance. Tuxera supports Intel’s latest consumer electronics hardware and software initiatives providing the market-leading Tuxera File System Suite including NTFS, exFAT, FAT32 and HFS+ solutions to all Intel customers.

What Tuxera does here helps Microsoft at the expense of Linux and Android. It pushes Microsoft APIs and patents where these are not needed. It is similar to what Likewise — with indirect Microsoft roots — has been doing (see our Likewise wiki page>) and currently the company boasts 90,000 customers, which means a big win for Microsoft.

“What Tuxera does here helps Microsoft at the expense of Linux and Android.”Regarding the above news, one reader asked sarcastically: “Why does Microsoft hate your software freedom? Because Microsoft can’t survive if you have it.

“Tuxera should be taken with a grain of salt because they were one of the first companies to license exFAT from Microsoft. The bit about forbidding GPL distribution was worth noting for me.

“It’s just another case of Microsoft stomping on code they don’t own. A company might have made the mistake of licensing Microsoft for one thing. That should not prevent them from ever making a free software friendly device again.”

Why is Intel getting involved in it? These are patent traps and MeeGo does not need Windows file systems. Speaking of patents, Intel is being forced to pay NVIDIA $1.5 billion for patents [1, 2] and Tessera gets to collect money from some rival chipmakers, also because of patents

A federal appeals court on Tuesday granted Tessera an important victory in its chip patent dispute with Qualcomm, Spansion, Freescale Semiconductor, ATI Technologies and STMicroelectronics.

[...]

The court’s decision serves to uphold both the ITC’s finding of infringement as well as its order that the five companies can’t import any devices containing the chips. In its ruling, the court noted that the import ban will not disrupt a supply of the chips to the U.S. because Tessera has licensed its technology to a number of other companies.

There is danger that, on the software side, Intel and Nokia (now headed by a former Microsoft president) will lead itself into Microsoft’s ‘Linux tax’ traps.

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A Single Comment

  1. TemporalBeing said,

    January 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Gravatar

    Honestly I wouldn’t mind getting rid of FAT32, NTFS, etc all together on Android. I’d much rather my SDHC micro card be formatted with ext2/3/4 than FAT32 – I’m never going to pull it out of the Android device any how, and my primary computers are all Linux. Sadly, I don’t see any option for making it a non-FAT partition – even though that would _increase_ the security of Android (since it would then be able to do all the permissions is does on the main flash drive on the SDHC micro card as well).

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