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IRC Proceedings: September 4th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Cablegate: Deputy Managing Director of the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (FCA) Said Microsoft’s Inadequate Technical Documentation Had Hindered Progress in the EU Case

Posted in Antitrust, Cablegate, Europe, Microsoft at 6:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The EU case against Microsoft has Stefan Keznickl remark privately about the stance of the FCA, after the EU Commission invited Member States

THIS cable is short and it is probably the last one for today. This Cablegate cable shows something that the public was probably not aware of, probably not at the time anyway:

DE RUEHVI #0942 0891119
P 301119Z MAR 06
E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF: STATE 46956 
1.  (U) Post conveyed reftel non-paper and talking points 
March 29 to Stefan Keznickl, Deputy Managing Director of the 
Austrian Federal Competition Authority (FCA), which is 
responsible in the GoA for national and EU-level antitrust 
cases.  Post also provided reftel information to Martin 
Eichtinger, the Minister of Economy's Chief of Staff. 
Keznickl said that the Commission had invited Member States 
to the March 30 hearing, but Member States did not intend to 
intervene in the process between the EC and Microsoft. 
Austria would therefore not have any coordinating role in 
its Presidency function.  However, Keznickl added that the 
Council would discuss the case at a later stage.  He said 
there was no date yet for the Council discussion. 
2.  (SBU) Keznickl underscored that the GoA did not believe 
the EC had been uncooperative in the process, noting that it 
was necessary for both sides to work together.  According to 
Keznickl, Microsoft's inadequate technical documentation had 
hindered progress in this case. 

See what we previously wrote about Microsoft in Austria [1, 2].

Cablegate: Microsoft Attacks Free/Libre Software in Tunisia With a Ben Ali Deal, Conspiring to Also Spy on the Population

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Gory details (given the revolution that came later) leak out through Wikileaks, which helps show how Microsoft does politics to impose user-hostile software on entire nations, defying their policies in the process

Found via the post “Microsoft et Ben Ali : Wikileaks confirme les soupçons d’une aide pour la surveillance des citoyens Tunisiens” was this very interesting diplomatic cable which sheds light on collaboration between two thugs, Steve Ballmer and Ben Ali. It not only shows Microsoft driving over Free software policies but it also shows Microsoft assisting the government’s attack on the population, which later overthrew Ben Ali. Those who insist that software is not political can bury their heads in the sand or alternatively read the following Cablegate cable. We emphasise some bits of interest in it:

DE RUEHTU #2424/01 2651044
P 221044Z SEP 06
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TUNIS 002424 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2016 
¶1. (SBU) Summary: During the Microsoft Government Leaders 
Forum in South Africa July 11-12, the GOT and the Microsoft 
Corporation signed a partnership agreement that provides for 
Microsoft investment in training, research, and development, 
but also commits the GOT to using licensed Microsoft 
software.  According to Microsoft Tunisia Director General 
Salwa Smaoui, the agreement is a win-win for both Microsoft 
and the GOT.  The negotiation process and the brokered deal 
itself are illustrative of GOT priorities and the cost of 
doing business in Tunisia.  End Summary. 
¶2. (SBU) The agreement between Microsoft and the GOT was 
signed in July during the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum 
in South Africa.  Although signed in July, information about 
the agreement has not been forthcoming from either the GOT or 
Microsoft and, despite repeated requests, Microsoft has yet 
to provide post with a copy of the final agreement.  In a 
September meeting with EconOffs, Microsoft Tunisia Director 
General Salwa Smaoui provided an overview of the main points. 
 The final agreement outlines cooperation on GOT 
e-governance, cyber security, intellectual property rights, 
and capacity development for Tunisian information technology 
programs.  Microsoft will establish a Microsoft Innovation 
Center in Tunisia for developing local software production 
capacity by providing training and consulting services to 
software developers.  Expanding the Tunisian IT sector has 
become a priority for the GOT as a way to absorb the growing 
number of unemployed university graduates.  According to 
Smaoui, the GOT invests approximately one percent of GDP in 
research and development in the IT sector.  Microsoft has 
also agreed to provide training to handicapped Tunisians to 
enable them to seek employment in the IT sector by 
telecommuting. (Note: President Ben Ali's wife Leila Ben Ali 
runs a charity for handicapped Tunisians.  End Note.) 
¶3. (U) As part of the agreement, Microsoft will help the GOT 
to upgrade and modernize its computers and networking 
capabilities.  In turn, the GOT agreed to purchase twelve 
thousand licenses to update government computers with 
official Microsoft software, rather than the pirated versions 
that have been commonly used, according to one Microsoft 
employee.  Since 2001, the GOT adopted an open software 
policy, using only free software programs.  Additionally, 
future GOT tenders for IT equipment will specify that the 
equipment must be Microsoft compatible, which is currently 
prohibited by the Tunisian open software policy. 
¶4. (SBU) The agreement also touches on internet security. 
Through a program on cyber criminality, Microsoft will train 
government officials in the Ministries of Justice and 
Interior on how to use computers and the internet to fight 
crime.  As part of this program, Microsoft will provide the 
GOT with original source codes for its programs.  When asked 
by EconOff whether Microsoft had any concerns about releasing 
its source codes, Smaoui replied that the source codes would 
only be available to a small number of officials. 
Nevertheless, the agreement contains language stating the 
Microsoft and the GOT will work jointly on intellectual 
property rights.  This agreement also provides for a separate 
agreement to be signed creating a security cooperation 
program that will provide more general internet security 
training to the public. 
¶5. (C) According to Smaoui, the agreement is the culmination 
of a five-year negotiation process.  Smaoui was named 
Microsoft's Director General for Tunisia about one year ago 
and, although currently hesitant to fully disclose the final 
details, provided frequent updates to Post on the progress of 
the negotiations.  She reported that at times the GOT's 
suspicion of Microsoft because of its "American-ness" seemed 
to outweigh its technical evaluation of the proposal.  She 
said that she had been asked several times by GOT ministers 
why, as a Tunisian, she was "working for the Americans," and 
often felt suspicion bordering on hostility during the 
negotiations.  Smaoui also noted that the GOT wanted a 
TUNIS 00002424  002 OF 002 
"tailor-made" agreement, rather than a prepackaged program 
that would be "imposed" on Tunisia.  This attitude towards 
the negotiation process required Microsoft to focus just as 
carefully on the presentation as the substance. 
¶6. (C) In a call on DCM a few days before the South Africa 
Forum, Smaoui worried that she was going to the Forum without 
a signed agreement in hand and could not confirm that the 
GOT's representative would even show up.  She fretted that 
she might have to confess to Bill Gates that she had no 
reason to be at the Forum.  In the event, Khedija Ghariani, 
Secretary of State for Computers, Internet, and Free 
Software, attended and signed the agreement on behalf of the 
GOT.  Despite the drawn-out negotiations, Smaoui stated that 
reaching an agreement was "vital" for Microsoft.  The fact 
that the government relied on open source software 
drastically limited business in Tunisia and prevented 
Microsoft from participating in GOT tenders.  Additionally, 
the agreement reinforces an objective both Microsoft and the 
GOT share -- establishing a knowledge society.  Smaoui stated 
that even though Microsoft will be investing in Tunisia, the 
sum of investment will be lower than the cost of GOT 
¶7. (C) Comment: Although the agreement has been hailed as a 
triumph for intellectual property rights, the negotiations 
and the brokered deal itself reveal a more complicated 
reality.  Microsoft was able to broker the final agreement by 
appealing to GOT unemployment sensitivities as well as by 
adapting to the realities of doing business in Tunisia.  Even 
as the goal of expanding employment opportunities for 
handicapped Tunisians is worthy, the program's affiliation 
with Leila Ben Ali's charity is indicative of the backroom 
maneuvering sometimes required to finalize a deal. 
Microsoft's reticence to fully disclose the details of the 
agreement further highlights the GOT emphasis on secrecy over 
transparency.  In theory, increasing GOT law enforcement 
capability through IT training is positive, but given 
heavy-handed GOT interference in the internet, Post questions 
whether this will expand GOT capacity to monitor its own 
citizens.  Ultimately, for Microsoft the benefits outweigh 
the costs.  End Comment. 

Citizens of Tunisia ought to sue Microsoft, which has “blood in its hands”. Watch how they keep this secret from the public which pays for it. When they say fight “crime” they may actually mean fight dissent, too (which from the government’s perspective is often a crime). Tunisia overthrew Ali. Now it needs to overthrow his ally, Microsoft.

Cablegate: As Gates Goes Lobbying for Microsoft Lock-in Among Turkish Youth, the Protesters Are “Fringe Parties” According to Istanbul Consulate

Posted in Bill Gates, Cablegate, Microsoft at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Bill Gates goes to lobby many parties (including dinner with Prime Minister Erdogan) and dissenting voices of Turks receive no weight at their nation’s consulate

TECHRIGHTS has covered the mischievous lobbying of Microsoft and the Gates Foundation, which often lobby in tandem. The following Cablegate cable provides interesting reading.

The Istanbul Consulate acts more like a cheerleader and hardly as an office genuinely concerned with the Turkish people.

E.O. 12958: N/A 
Sensitive but unclassified - not for internet distribution. 
This message was coordinated with Embassy Ankara. 
1. (U) Summary: In his third trip to Turkey in a little over 
a year, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates met in Istanbul with 
senior Turkish government and business leaders and announced 
a range of new initiatives aimed at increasing internet 
penetrationin Turkey.  These included a new Turkey web portal 
(in cooperation with Turkey's leading media group, Dogan 
Holding) and a "My First Computer" campaign in partnership 
with Intel and Turk Telecom.  The extensively publicized 
January 28-30 visit included a dinner with Prime Minister 
Erdogan and a town-hall meeting with 2500 students.  In his 
public comments, Gates praised Turkey's progress in 
combatting pirated software.  While not announcing any 
specific investment plans, he highlighted the fact that 
Istanbul serves as Microsoft's regional headquarters for 79 
countries in the Middle East and Africa, and predicted that 
its footprint here will continue to grow in the years ahead. 
End Summary. 
2. (SBU) In addition to its Turkey-centered events, Microsoft 
had initially planned to take advantage of Gates' presence to 
organize a summit of business leaders from throughout the 
Middle East and Africa.  Following the outbreak of avian 
influenza in Eastern Turkey, it put those plans on hold, and 
instead targeted local business leaders and students.  In 
addition to his meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan and 
Transport and Communications Minister Yildirim, Gates met 
with Microsoft's partners here (including notably Dogan 
Holding), and spoke to students (a town hall of 2500 students 
from a range of schools gathered at an urban campus in 
Istanbul), journalists, and Turkish business leaders. 
3. (SBU) While there was no announcement regarding the 
planned "Techno-city," which Prime Minister Erdogan announced 
last year and which Microsoft has indicated in general terms 
that it will support, Gates did announce a range of new 
initiatives, including a "My First Computer" project, in 
cooperation with Intel and Turk Telecom.  Noting that Turkey 
lags behind other developed countries with an internet 
penetration rate of 16 percent (an estimated 10 million 
people using 750,000 computers), he said the project targets 
to reach 80 percent of Turkish households through the new PC, 
which will be introduced this spring and will cost around 300 
USD.  Gates said this project will build on Microsoft's work 
in partnership with Turkey's Ministry of Education, the 
United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and local NGO's, 
which has succeeded in bringing internet access to public 
spaces in most Turkish communities. 
4. (SBU) Gates also met with Dogan Holding Chairman Aydin 
Dogan to announce that the two companies will work together 
to launch a local search engine to challenge Google's 
dominance in the Turkey.  The portal will also provide 
internet telephone services (VOIP), and will utilize 
Microsoft's technical expertise and Dogan's experience in the 
local market. 
5. (SBU) Speaking to the press, Gates praised Turkey's 
progress in reducing the level of pirated software, and noted 
Microsoft's own efforts in this regard, in cooperation with 
other IT partners in the local Business Software Alliance 
(BSA).  He underlined the potential Turkey offers with its 
young and dynamic population, and highlighted Microsoft's 
decision to use Istanbul as a base for its regional 
operations in the Middle East and Africa.  While disclaiming 
any specific investment plans, he predicted the company's 
footprint will grow as its activities in the region continue 
to expand. 
6. (SBU) Comment: While his presence attracted a handful of 
protestors from fringe parties, Gates was enthusiastically 
welcomed by most Turks, and his visit won wide coverage. 
(The fact that Dogan Holding dominates local print and 
broadcast media didn't hurt.)  Even Istanbul's normally tough 
press corps appeared overawed, lobbing mainly softballs in 
Gates' extended press conference.  While Techno-city is not 
on the immediate horizon, Gates made clear that Turkey 
figures in Microsoft's future plans.  End Comment. 

How charitable. Notice how the Ministry of Education is among Gates’ targets, probably because it can help Gates indoctrinate the young at taxpayers’ expense.

Windows is Not a Choice

Posted in Asia, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 1:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The scandal in Tamil Nadu is met with a weak defence from the culprits

WHAT sure seems like federal corruption in Tamil Nadu led to the forcing of Windows. All new computers will need to have Microsoft Windows paid for, even if the user chooses to run GNU/Linux. Watch the dodgy official resorting to damage control. They even use Microsoft talking points. This one says that “the freedom of the students to choose the operating system of their choice is encouraged.” Freedom of “choice” is the Microsoft spin, which misses the point that they still have to pay for Windows whether they want to or not and Windows is not freedom, it’s being subjugated to a monopoly abuser from abroad. Let them lie. They are used to it. Indians should not let this one slip aside because this is part of a pattern, as we covered in posts such as:

Windows respects “freedom of the students to choose the operating system” like someone who boards the plane has the freedom to refuse the full-body X-Ray scanners in Manchester Airport, in which case the passenger is refused access to any departing flight. It’s the mere illusion of choice. The picture below is censored by the way, but this is what every single passenger in Manchester is required to give the government in exchange for plane access these days, never mind the catastrophic effects of cancer (risking more lives and in the long term causing more deaths than all airplane terrorism combined).


Africans Insulted by Philanthrocapitalism

Posted in Africa, Bill Gates at 1:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates at Harper's Magazine

Summary: Genuine African blogs explain that they wish not to be treated like they are desperate for American corporations and aristocrats to ‘save’ them

MAKING MONEY by pretending to help the poor is one of the specialities of the Gates Foundation.

Bill Gates is hijacking the voice of Africans to impose negative things on them. We’ve covered this in posts such as:

  1. Bill Gates Sells Drugs in Less Developed Nations (for Profit)
  2. How the Gates Foundation Privatises Africa
  3. With Microsoft Monopoly in Check, Bill Gates Proceeds to Creating More Monopolies
  4. Gates-Backed Company Accused of Monopoly Abuse and Investigated
  5. Reader’s Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods
  6. Monsanto: The Microsoft of Food
  7. Seeds of Doubt in Bill Gates Investments
  8. Gates Foundation Accused of Faking/Fabricating Data to Advance Political Goals
  9. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  10. Video Transcript of Vandana Shiva on Insane Patents
  11. Explanation of What Bill Gates’ Patent Investments Do to Developing World
  12. Black Friday Film: What the Bill Gates-Backed Monsanto Does to Animals, Farmers, Food, and Patent Systems
  13. Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies
  14. Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off
  15. Bill Gates Takes His GMO Patent Investments/Experiments to India
  16. Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited
  17. Beyond the ‘Public Relations’
  18. UK Intellectual Monopoly Office (UK-IPO) May be Breaking the Law
  19. “Boycott Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in China”
  20. The Gates Foundation Extends Control Over Communication with Oxfam Relationship
  21. Week of Monsanto

Here is an African voice explaining why this is wrong.

Society has a very one dimentional conversation about privilege.
Looking at me from an American perspective, it would be easy to assume that I hold no privilege.
I’m Black, a woman, from the third world. All these things are true and indeed if you were to base your evaluation of me on popular media images of Africans and particularly African women, I’m a miserable creature indeed.
However, if you take seriously Chimamanda Achidie’s call for a balance of stories you might take a different perspective of me.
As an educated, professor of Politics at an American university, I do wield considerable class, educational and other privileges relative to the rest of the world’s population.
You see, the problem is that society as a whole tends to have very narrow views of privilege.
This narrow view of privilege pervades philanthropy as well.

Gates Keppers found this article about rich Americans who treat Africa like it’s some kind of a zoo. They are posing for the camera to boast about superiority and alleged generosity. Africans are not stupid and they can see what’s wrong with it. As Gates Keppers points out, Bill Gates is sponsoring this, too:

Water First International
Date: November 2010
Purpose: for general operating support
Amount: $2,500
Term: 1 month
Topic: Advocacy & Public Policy
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: Foundation
Grantee Location: Seattle, Washington
Grantee Web site: Not available


“Advocacy & Public Policy” means lobbying and PR. We have already explained this before. How low can one sink? Even the press in African is bought by Gates. Monsanto et al. approve.

Making Progress by Complaining

Posted in Site News at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Advogato posts a “Defense of Negativity” and we repost a video relevant to this

THERE IS this common misconception that things will improve if one adheres to a consistently positive message and never speaks badly of the ills. Here at Techrights we do not quite agree with this (we do not complain about it, either) and a few months ago I did a video to explain this (reposted below). Well, yesterday it was Advogato which posted a very detailed rebuttal to the claim at hand. It’s titled “In Defense of Negativity” and it starts as follows:

I have often heard criticism of “negative campaigning” in the free software movement. “Negative” campaigns speak out against proprietary software as opposed to “positive” campaigns which instead speak of the benefits of software freedom. This essays unpacks some of the arguments against negativity and makes the argument that negative campaigns, in some forms, can play an critical and important role in free software advocacy.

Great essay. For what it’s worth, my response is reposted below.

YouTube: On Techrights Negativism

Or as Ogg:


Ogg Theora

Microsoft’s Embrace of Linux is Deceitful, Malicious, a Likely Antitrust Violation

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 1:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lamb to the slaughter

Summary: Summation of discussions with two Keiths, one from Open Invention Network (OIN) and another who is a former Fedora member/packager

TECHRIGHTS certainly strives to accumulate new information, if not by researching written documents then by asking people who are familiar with what happens behind the scenes (where no documents are being produced). A long conversation with OIN’s CEO, for example, helped improve our understanding of the patents situation. Many of these issues are passed around verbally, but we basically wanted a clearer separation between FAT deals and Linux deals. From what I recall (I didn’t take any notes), Microsoft bundles some of those deals under meta-packages of sorts. One would be the file systems thing, another would probably be the Samba thing, and for Android we are told it’s really just ActiveSync, which is interesting because it’s easy to dodge this one dependency. We had it implicitly confirmed that $5 is the price tag on HTC phones (Microsoft tax). This number originally came from some banker/analyst in some report last year.

It’s all very vague to an outsider, so we are still trying to get all the numbers right. We wish this was public knowledge, but Microsoft prefers for it to be secret as that would intimidate potential Android distributors and prospective buyers. We already know that patent assurance from Xandros (DistroWatch declared it “discontinued” 5 weeks ago) is valued at $50, so we assume more or less the same for SUSE. We don’t know if Xandros still has that Web page with the $50 figure online, but we took screenshots at the time and Debian developers got notified by a reader of ours who is also a Debian Developer (DD). The same Xandros page now says “$149.99… Purchase Xandros Desktop without Microsoft patent assurance [which leads to a similar page with the $99 price tag].” (Update see Jose’s remark in the comments below)

There are serious issues regarding the legality of what Microsoft is doing. It not only deceives for FUD but it also extorts its competition under secret terms. As for FAT patents, Tridge wrote a patch for that within weeks. If one is aware of the patents (no secrecy), then they become simple to work around much of the time. Keith (not of OIN but Slated) asked:”So if there’s a non-infringing implementation then why aren’t companies using it? Does any Linux distributor still have to pay Microsoft for FAT patents or not? If not, then what are they (e.g. HTC) paying for?”

We reckon it might be ActiveSync. But it’s hard to be sure. Microsoft didn’t say and the OIN seems to suggest that it’s ActiveSync. The secrecy is not coincidental. It’s intentional. It’s for FUD.

Moreover, notes Keith (an opinionated GNU/Linux advocate), “I thought the EU Commission ruled Microsoft had to open the SMB spec and allow royalty-free implementations. Is Microsoft violating that ruling?

“So again, does any Linux distributor currently pay Microsoft for SMB licensing or not, and if not then what are they paying for? It’s not SMB, it’s not FAT, so what is it?”

The TomTom case says FAT, the Motorola case says a little more (but Motorola did not lose the case), and we generally don’t quite know for sure. There was some article around 2007 about Microsoft Licensing (external) and some entity they set up to manage SMB “licences”. Jeremy Allison complained about it. Maybe that prelades the Samba EU decision, but we suspect not. It was in December of this year that the EU Commission had a breakthrough and Easter of that same year when Novell submitted the redacted deal document, which then exposed some of what Novell had done with Microsoft in secret.

The OIN is trying to collect key patents that act as shield/deterrence. I have negotiated with someone who has key patents on tablets (Microsoft troll proxies tried to snatch these off his hands), who after speaking to me for weeks decided to donate them to “Linux and FOSS”. I directed him to the OIN and we’re still working on it quite privately.

The OIN is concerned about what Microsoft did to MeeGo and Nokia, which is now handing over its parents to a patent troll, MOSAID (which sued Red Hat last month), to sue Android. I told OIN’s Keith about apparent entryism at HP amid the news about WebOS. What shocks me personally is that many journalists went to sleep or vanished, so nobody seems to be covering this huge antitrust violations.

“It’s a big mystery,” continued Keith. “HTC pays Microsoft $5 per handset for “patents” Linux “violates”, but nobody seems to know what “patents” they are, and nobody wants to talk about it. Indeed, for some equally mysterious reason, they seem to need to sign NDAs before making those agreements, even though patents are required by law to be a matter of public record. So why would Microsoft need companies to sign NDAs if these are perfectly legitimate deals, and what are those deals, exactly? If companies are not paying for FAT patents, as they clearly no longer need to, and they’re not paying for SMB patents, since Microsoft is prohibited from charging royalties for it, then what exactly are they paying for, and why does it need to be a big secret?”

B&N did not sign the NDA and in fact it 'leaked' evidence of the extortion. Groklaw then published or republished the PDF and there was some press coverage that did not name patent numbers.

“Surely it should be up to Microsoft to provide that at the application level, and sell it on Apple’s app store / Android Market, not make boiler-room deals with smartphone manufacturers.”
      –Keith (Slated)
“An even more important question,” continued Keith, “is why do governments tolerate this blatantly obvious racketeering? Surely the Microsoft deceptions exposed by Barnes and Noble should have been enough to alert antitrust investigators to this corruption. So what is being done about it?”

The government — although taxpayers fund it — is an extension of Microsoft. Right now Techrights is going through Cablagate and publishing relevant cables that show the government acting as merely a lobbyist and marketer for Microsoft. Only if people stand up and demand action will something be done about Microsoft. See how the SEC systematically ignored bankers’ crimes (Taibi wrote articles about it) and a whistleblower explained that the SEC also destroyed evidence. That was last month. Microsoft and FTC/US DOJ are similar. The latter did not even investigate the CPTN debacle before it received several formal complaints. Government kowtowing is not unique to Microsoft, but that is irrelevant. It’s a systemic problem.

“Screw ActiveSync,” ranted Keith. “Let Office users sync through Google’s Cloud like everyone else. Surely it should be up to Microsoft to provide that at the application level, and sell it on Apple’s app store / Android Market, not make boiler-room deals with smartphone manufacturers.

“It’s bizarre. Android handset distributors are basically paying Microsoft for the “privilege” of bundling something that Microsoft could simply provide itself after-market, and would most likely do so for free anyway, for those few who actually need it. It’d be like paying Microsoft to bundle Internet Explorer. It’s just incredibly strange.

“Somebody needs to write a long, detailed exposé of this whole “Microsoft licensing” mystery, and I get the feeling the OIN knows more about it than most. Most importantly, we need to establish whether or not anything that’s being “paid” for genuinely has anything to do with Linux, because from what I’ve seen so far it certainly doesn’t. Mostly though, I’d like to get to the bottom of why Microsoft refuses to tell anyone what patents they’re actually charging “license fees” for. Why won’t they talk about it, and what do bodies like the FTC think about Microsoft’s refusal to talk about it? Am I the only person who thinks this is gangster-like behaviour?”

This problem is sadly enough spreading outside the United States too. The “EPO says Tetris computer game has technical features, thus the exclusion of computer program can be bypassed,” claims the FFII’s President. This fight just never ends, does it?

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

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