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03.27.14

Another Reason to Boycott Dell: Support for Microsoft’s Racketeering

Posted in Dell, Microsoft, Patents at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Campaign of intimidation against Linux fueled by Dell, too

Dell monitor logo

Summary: The dying computer assembly company is joining a notorious attack on GNU/Linux as if it is trying to appease Microsoft rather than today’s generation, which increasingly embraces GNU- and Linux-based platforms

Last year we called for boycott of Dell and at the end of the year we gave more reasons for it. Dell had done a disservice to Free software for a number of years and in 2007 it joined the Microsoft/Novell deal, perhaps implying (but never explicitly saying so) that it will play a role in putting patent tax on GNU/Linux.

“Dell did not have to do this, but it chose to.”Now that Windows (Microsoft’s common carrier) is in real trouble because many users are exposed to crackers other than the NSA (to which Microsoft provides back doors) Microsoft is very much focused on trying to scare vendors (and people, who usually rely on these vendors) away from GNU/Linux.

Chrome OS is a GNU/Linux distribution, possible the most widely used of its kind, so Microsoft has been running attack ads (smear campaigns) against it. In addition, adding to reasons to boycott Dell (Microsoft took over at least part of Dell and it has been getting worse since), Dell is reportedly joining Microsoft’s extortion and intimidation campaign against Android and Chrome OS. Dell did not have to do this, but it chose to. “Without disclosing too many details,” writes Monika Bhati, “the companies said they have agreed to license each company’s applicable intellectual property related to three product lines: Android, Chrome OS and Xbox.”

Monika Bhati’s softball ‘article’ is just parroting claims from press releases without investigating any further or at the very least checking what’s true and what’s FUD. This article repeats the unsubstantiated claims that Microsoft makes billions of dollars this way, despite lack of any actual evidence (the real goal is to deter against GNU/Linux adoption). She is not alone in it and we need to stop this. This whole thing is typical cross-licensing, intended for the most to disguise the reality of finances, as in Novell’s case (I spent years of my life researching this, so I recognise these patterns).

One must wonder: where is OIN in all this? The OIN brags about adding Verizon to its ranks this week, but it does absolutely nothing to stop Microsoft’s racketeering campaign. The OIN’s CEO, whom I spoke to several times over the phone, is quote as saying: “We appreciate Verizon’s industry thought leadership in joining OIN and supporting patent non-aggression in Linux. We believe Verizon is a bellwether for other communications service providers from an open-source and intellectual-property perspective, and look forward to working with other carriers so they can similarly come to understand the benefits of participation in the OIN community and partake of this growing culture of patent non-aggression.”

Mr. Bergelt is quoted as saying that he is into “non-aggression in Linux,” so how come he does nothing at all to stop the racketeering against OIN members like Google? This is beyond useless and the OIN will never even lobby against software patents because its large members are in favour of them. Some of them are very much part of the problem.

People need to vote with their wallets. The Linux Foundation and OIN are not going to save or preserve freedom in GNU/Linux; they don’t prioritise this. One is a mutual pact not to sue and another is a branding operation (employing for the most part marketing and branding professionals).

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