This definitely impacts GNU/Linux when Microsoft shamelessly passes Nokia‘s patents, for instance, to active patent trolls
Pay us or face the consequences? Terror tactics or Mafia tactics?
Summary: Microsoft is feeding enemies of GNU/Linux and Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) in order to sell its ‘protection’, which it names “IP Advantage” in a rather Orwellian fashion (same naming as back in the Novell days)
SOFTWARE patents are the most potent threat to Free/libre software. As we noted here just over a fortnight ago, Microsoft continues to use software patents to divide and conquer Free/libre software, essentially dividing it based on “safe” and “unsafe” (from litigation over patents). It’s that classic modus operandi that goes along the lines of, “pay us, or terrible things will happen…”
Corporate Counsel, a very popular site among lawyers, decided to write about Microsoft’s de facto attack (as above) but missed the main point. Having caught up with it nearly 3 weeks later, the summary (article’s body is behind walled gardens) says “Microsoft’s conversations with customers have led it to tackle an emerging risk through Azure IP Advantage, but others say the ‘umbrella’ program may not yet be legal necessity.”
“Microsoft can try to increase perceived and/or actual threat, making the only “safe” option for hosting of Free/libre software the option which is monthly payments to Microsoft (Azure subscription/veiled patent royalties).”Microsoft can send or unleash its many patent trolls (named here over the years, as recently as months ago) to make it more of a “legal necessity.” Microsoft can try to increase perceived and/or actual threat, making the only “safe” option for hosting of Free/libre software the option which is monthly payments to Microsoft (Azure subscription/veiled patent royalties). This strategy was last explained here two weeks ago and it shouldn’t be too hard to understand. It’s similar to what Microsoft attempted over a decade ago with Novell. We wrote literally thousands of articles on this topic. It doesn’t take a patent strategist to grasp it.
The threat of software patents is still very much real, in spite of Alice (whose impact can end as soon as SCOTUS under Trump revisits the matter, caving in to anti-§ 101 lobbyists).
“The threat of software patents is still very much real, in spite of Alice (whose impact can end as soon as SCOTUS under Trump revisits the matter, caving in to anti-§ 101 lobbyists).”Just in the past few days alone we saw patent maximalists from Greenberg Traurig promoting software patents [1, 2], among other things. They definitely want software patents back and they relentlessly work towards that goal, as we show here almost every day. They keep setting up more and more front groups for that purpose and they try to scandalise public officials whom they don’t agree with. They essentially try to oust reformers.
Software patents in the US are still being advertised; they are also still being celebrated in press releases, e.g. this new one (aside from that other press release about their activity in Texas) which says “Jigsaw, a leading provider of virtual training and education technology, recently became the first e-learning software to receive a patent for its game-changing, multi-dimensional learning solution. The patent, granted December 20, 2016, was especially noteworthy, as software patents of any kind are difficult to acquire and only infrequently approved by the U.S. Patent Office. Jigsaw’s proprietary technology proved itself unique not only among virtual learning tools, but among all software products.”
“Recall what, in the area of server-side security, the Microsoft-connected (financed, like Blackboard) Finjan had done until as recently as earlier this year.”They sound like another Blackboard-like entity, which probably intends to sue the competition, including Free/libre software (remember the sabre-rattling and patent lawsuits from the Microsoft-connected Blackboard).
Here is another new press release which speaks about newly-granted software patents:
IOMAXIS LLC, a leader in innovative computing and communication technologies, announced today that it has been granted two new patents for novel security approaches in the area of cloud-based computing by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patents, which give the company ownership of two unique approaches to identifying threats in cloud-computing environments, serve as part of IOMAXIS’ new cloud security practice. The establishment of the new practice provides commercial and federal clients unparalleled protection from internal and external threats within cloud-computing environments.
Recall what, in the area of server-side security, the Microsoft-connected (financed, like Blackboard) Finjan had done until as recently as earlier this year.
“If they start to sue and shake down more of these companies, raising the temperature in the room and making managers sweat a little, will Microsoft then step in to offer “Azure IP Advantage” for “intellectual property peace of mind” (a term it used ad infinitum back in the Novell days)?”Let it be emphasised in case it’s not obvious. There are many entities out there, both large and small (as large as the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures), which are strongly connected to Microsoft and are habitually threatening, using software patents of course, Free/libre software projects and companies that develop/distribute/deploy/support/maintain these. If they start to sue and shake down more of these companies, raising the temperature in the room and making managers sweat a little, will Microsoft then step in to offer “Azure IP Advantage” for “intellectual property peace of mind” (a term it used ad infinitum back in the Novell days)? █
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Old tricks, new sheep’s clothing (don't change tactics, just market them better!)
Summary: Having disguised Android and Chrome OS patent settlements as OEM "bundling" deals (preinstalling Microsoft spyware), Microsoft now comes up with a new way to market its “protection” (of FOSS it didn’t even develop) from patent trolls, which requires that people pay Microsoft a subscription fee
LAST NIGHT, just before midnight, people started sending links like this or the original from Microsoft. It is despicable and it “does not work against trolls,” as Benjamin Henrion pointed out to me. In short, a massive patent troll claims that it offers protection from trolls and it’s all over the news, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4] (a near-exhaustive list of articles is not needed because there are many articles like these that are puff pieces). Not all the above was composed by Microsoft boosters, but it started from Microsoft and then Microsoft boosters, who probably coordinated this with Microsoft’s PR agencies before or during the charm offensive.
“What Microsoft basically says here is, use only our services (and pay us every month) for using Free/Open Source software that we did not even develop — only threatened and occasionally attacked — then enjoy “IP Peace of Mind” (or else we and our patent trolls will sue you with software patents).”Microsoft has got some nerve doing this; the company operates its own in-house patent troll (plus peripheral ones); it regularly attacks GNU/Linux with patents, yet now it pretends to be “defensive”? Or pretends to combat trolls? It doesn’t get any more laughable than this. This is the same company that keeps expounding and repeating the lie that it “loves [GNU/]Linux” (while constantly attacking GNU/Linux, GNU/Linux vendors and GNU/Linux advocates behind the scenes — we still have some new stories about that on the way).
What Microsoft basically says here is, use only our services (and pay us every month) for using Free/Open Source software that we did not even develop — only threatened and occasionally attacked — then enjoy “IP Peace of Mind” (or else we and our patent trolls will sue you with software patents). Microsoft already did this with Novell a decade ago. It’s not a new trick. It perpetually said, buy SUSE (pay us for patents) or risk lawsuits. Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer even directly threatened Red Hat and its customers. He publicly said: “People that use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us.”
“Just because Microsoft paid the Linux Foundation (slush funds; that’s all it takes to ‘join’) doesn’t mean that Microsoft suddenly “loves [GNU/]Linux” or that all is OK now.”Dozens of new (or “news”) articles about Microsoft and patent trolls are currently googlebombing (filling up the indexes for searches), distracting from Microsoft as the patent troll or a ‘puppetmaster’ of trolls such as Intellectual Ventures. If this wasn’t the real purpose of this PR charade, then maybe it’s a side perk. Incidentally, the other day Linux Journal published an article about Microsoft’s patent attacks on GNU/Linux. It started like this:
From vs. to + for Microsoft and [GNU/]Linux
In November 2016, Microsoft became a platinum member of the Linux Foundation, the primary sponsor of top-drawer Linux talent (including Linus), as well as a leading organizer of [GNU/]Linux conferences and source of [GNU/]Linux news.
Does it matter that Microsoft has a long history of fighting [GNU/]Linux with patent claims? Seems it should. Run a Google search for “microsoft linux patents”, and you’ll get almost a half-million results, most of which raise questions. Is Microsoft now ready to settle or drop claims? Is this about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? Is it just a seat at a table it can’t hurt Microsoft to sit at?
Just because Microsoft paid the Linux Foundation (slush funds; that’s all it takes to ‘join’) doesn’t mean that Microsoft suddenly “loves [GNU/]Linux” or that all is OK now. From what we’re able to see, Microsoft is now trying to distinguish its offerings based on perceived protection from a problem that it itself created. People should be disgusted; nobody should praise Microsoft for this. Microsoft is again dividing the community; there’s the ‘protected’ option and the ‘under threat’ (of litigation) option. █
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SUSE (or MicroFocus) won’t even tell customers when its systems are in fact compromised
Summary: The same old and very notorious behaviour we found in Novell persists at SUSE under MicroFocus leadership; security neglected and keeping up appearances more important than honesty
TECHRIGHTS wrote many thousands of articles about Novell. We know Novell extremely well and we have documented its terrible behaviour for over half a decade, well before we began focusing on the EPO for example. As we shall show later, in a separate post, Microsoft’s and Novell’s “IP Peace of Mind” is making a comeback (as of last night), but right now we wish to focus on the crack I first wrote about on Monday (it has since then generated some press coverage, e.g. [1-3] below).
“Remember that no evidence has been presented by SUSE and moreover the gross negligence here is a bad sign in general.”A lot of people still miss the key point. IDG even went ahead with a rather misleading headline, as did Softpedia; rather than state the actual news (that OpenSUSE got cracked) the title says or overstates the ‘damage control’ from SUSE, diverting attention to what was not affected rather than what was affected (a politician’s trick). We used to see lots of that kind of spin back in the Novell days and the 2 articles below, having sought comment from SUSE, give SUSE the benefit of the doubt here. Remember that no evidence has been presented by SUSE and moreover the gross negligence here is a bad sign in general. That’s just “faith-based” security. My article about it was so short that it was mostly a screenshot, yet we understand that further coverage is on its way. So let’s elaborate a little. “They were using an outdated version of WordPress and got zapped,” one person wrote to me after I had published my findings. “It was just the front-end, no code was touched.” But says who? SUSE? Can we believe them?
“Nobody has yet covered that issue as properly as we hoped (poor security practices at SUSE) and the fact that they COMPLETELY FAILED or refused to publicly acknowledge what had happened is a serious aspect of it.”Whatever caused the defacement, it shows that they lost control of their platform. They did get cracked. Softpedia reported that “openSUSE devs immediately restored the news.opensuse.org website from a recent backup” (so the back end too appears to have been compromised).
Nobody has yet covered that issue as properly as we hoped (poor security practices at SUSE) and the fact that they COMPLETELY FAILED or refused to publicly acknowledge what had happened is a serious aspect of it. We waited patiently to see if an announcement would be made by then, even a reassurance that users should not worry. But nothing came out! To this date (half a week later). They attempted to cover it up, which is BAD BAD BAD. For a so-called “Enterprise-Grade” thing which SUSE tries to market itself as (selling SLE*) this is a serious breach of trust. Who would trust SUSE now?
“If someone injected a back door inside SLED and SLES, SUSE would probably say not a thing, only belatedly removing it and then lying about the whole thing, just like Microsoft does.”3 news sites and my own site wrote about it, but not a single word has been uttered by SUSE. They know they got cracked and they are not telling anyone, except when journalists ask them for comment (and press them with evidence).
OpenSUSE has a history of security issues in its sites (see “openSUSE Forum Hacked; 79500 Users Data Compromised” from 2014). Where are the reporters who are willing to ask SUSE some tough questions? Don’t let this slide. If someone injected a back door inside SLED and SLES, SUSE would probably say not a thing, only belatedly removing it and then lying about the whole thing, just like Microsoft does. █
In the news:
Softpedia was informed by Dr. Roy Schestowitz that the openSUSE News (news.opensuse.org) website got defaced by Kurdish hacker MuhmadEmad on the day of February 6, 2017.
It would appear that the server where the news.opensuse.org website is hosted is isolated from the rest of openSUSE’s infrastructure, which means that the hacker did not have access to any contributor data, such as email and passwords, nor to the ISO images of the openSUSE Linux operating system.
We already talked with openSUSE Chairman Richard Brown, who confirms for Softpedia that the offered openSUSE downloads remain safe and consistent, and users should not worry about anything. The vigilant openSUSE devs immediately restored the news.opensuse.org website from a recent backup, so everything is operating normally at this time.
The openSUSE team acted quickly to restore the site. When I talked to Richard Brown, openSUSE chairman, he said that “the server that hosts ‘news.opensuse.org’ is isolated from the majority of openSUSE infrastructure by design, so there was no breach of any other part of openSUSEs infrastructure, especially our build, test and download systems. Our offered downloads remain safe and consistent and there was no breach of any openSUSE contributor data.”
The team is still investigating the reason for the breach so I don’t have much information. The site ran a WordPress install and it seems that WordPress was compromised.
This site is not managed by the SUSE or openSUSE team. It is handled by the IT team of MicroFocus. However, Brown said that SUSE management certainly doesn’t want any such incident to happen again and they are considering moving the site to the infrastructure managed by SUSE and openSUSE team.
In the latest Linux news, the news.opensuse.org got hacked and displayed “KurDish HaCk3rS WaS Here” for a while Monday and while the site has been restored, no comment on the hack has been issued. Elsewhere, Debian 9.0 has entered its final freeze in the last steps in preparations for release. FOSS Force has named their winner for top distro of 2016 and Swapnil Bhartiya shared his picks for the best for 2017. Blogger DarkDuck said MX-16 Xfce is “very close to the ideal” and Alwan Rosyidi found Solus OS is giving Elementary OS a run for its money. Phoronix.com’s Michael Larabel explained why he uses Fedora and Jeremy Garcia announced the winners of the 2016 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards.
openSUSE’s news portal was compromised Monday by a hacker or group of hackers called MuhmadEmad, via the message left in its place. A Kurdish flag with the message “HaCkeD by MuhmadEmad – KurDish HaCk3rS WaS Here” was displayed for hours before it was taken down and the site’s content restored. Roy Schestowitz has a screen capture and said that openSUSE has not yet publicly acknowledged the hack. Swapnil Bhartiya spoke to Richard Brown, openSUSE chairman, who said that site was isolated from most SUSE infrastructure, especially the distribution code. There was no breach of any contributor data either. The site in question is run by MicroFocus, but all are investigating to make sure it’s an isolated incident.
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A weak and/or incompetent EPO would harm everyone in the world
Summary: A short story about how and why we ended up writing so much about the European Patent Office (EPO) and the impact beyond Europe
THE EPO has become a subject of considerable debate and focus here. It started around 2014 after we had primarily focused on the US patent system, the USPTO.
For those who have not been reading the site since its inception, here is a short introduction.
I had been a GNU/Linux advocate well before this site existed and an opponent of software patents (not patents as a whole) for a little longer than that. People who have themselves developed software don’t find it difficult to understand why copyrights, not patents, are suitable protection for one’s work (protection from plagiarism, misuse, misattribution, and so on).
The earliest goal of the site, back almost 10 years ago, was to end the software patents assault by Microsoft against GNU/Linux and Free software in general — an assault which began if not publicly culminated with the Microsoft/Novell patent deal. Novell took several years to decline after this deal and ultimately, unsurprisingly, Microsoft grabbed Novell’s own software patents, in a joint takeover along with Apple, Oracle, etc. These companies do not want Linux and Android to succeed, not without them being heavily taxed by the proprietary software oligopoly (Microsoft, Apple and Oracle still have ongoing patent/copyright fights against Android).
Apple’s attack on Linux (through Android) officially began in 2010, whereupon we wrote a great deal about Apple and shortly afterwards Oracle joined this war. It had already shown some hostility towards Red Hat, just shortly before the Microsoft/Novell deal in 2006.
For those who are not yet seeing a pattern, let it be spelled out clearly; the rise of Free software and GNU/Linux gave power to new actors such as Google, which made proper use of Free software in order to build back- and front-end stacks (databases, operating systems, AI, Web servers and so on). This meant that gadgets-selling giants, database giants, operating systems giants/monopolies etc. that were and still are proprietary (e.g. iOS, Mac OS X, Oracle, Windows) needed to either crash/crush emergent forces or tax them, using either patents or copyrights (this goes back to 2003 with the Microsoft-backed SCO assault on Linux).
Right now, in 2016, the aforementioned issues are unresolved. Microsoft is still attacking Linux (but more cleverly, with shrewdly-worded announcements that brand/frame patent settlements as bundling deals), Apple still has several patent cases against Android OEMs, and Oracle refuses to give up even after 6 years in the courtroom (against Android through Google). The cause of utmost importance here deals not only with software patents anymore but also with some design patents (Apple v Samsung) and copyright on APIs (Oracle v Google).
About 8 years ago we expressed concerns about software patents in Europe due to FRAND lobbying (from companies like Microsoft) and Brimelow’s loophole “as such”. We thereafter didn’t keep a close eye on the EPO for quite some time. Not much seemed to happen, but new kinds of abuses started to emerge and these seemed to be related to the resurrection of the “EU patent” or “community patent”, this time under a new kind of name and marketing (equating maximalism with union, unity, universality etc.) accompanied by/with repression of staff and suppression of critics. Even the staff union of the EPO, which had existed for several decades, came under unprecedented (even outside the EPO) attacks.
The reason we now focus a great deal on the EPO is that we have reasonably good understanding of the matters involved. We also have many articles on the subject, which helps us create a cohesive story with a lot of cross-referencing. Our goal now is to help other people (EPO insiders as well as politicians who are outsiders) gain an equally good understanding of why the EPO’s management must be chopped laterally and replaced en masse. It is the only way to save the EPO right now. Delegates that make up the Administrative Council probably have a good grip on the current situation, but they are afraid (or tied up by Battistelli’s hand on the budget), so they are not likely to do anything. The EPO needs somewhat of a revolution and strikes/demonstrations are steps towards that.
In the coming days we shall have a lot to write about the EPO and we will devote plenty of time and resources to ensure this historic period in the EPO is properly documented. We welcome feedback from readers and we hope that new material will continue to flow in. Now that everyone in the UK (and increasingly beyond) talks about “Brexit” it looks like Battistelli will definitely fail to deliver on his promises. He will be remembered not as a pioneer manager who compromised the rule of law for some ‘necessary’ reform but as a ruthless tyrant that shattered the EPO’s reputation for many years if not decades to come.
The EPO will outlive Battistelli and it is everyone’s job, especially at the EPO, to fight for patent quality (i.e. defy Battistelli’s ‘productivity’ obsession or lunacy). Remember that patent offices live or die (or make or break if not perish) based on the value or perceived value of their granted patents, i.e. examination that increases certainty in a court of law. Being an ENA graduate, Battistelli perhaps hopes that his predecessor will be left to deal with the aftermath of his atrocious policies (brain drain, low patent quality, reputation problems). Then the blame might be misplaced. A retired Battistelli would have little or nothing to worry about, but what about patent examiners who are far from retirement? How about retired examiners whose pension will be at risk? Given some upcoming Battistelli ‘reforms’, many people’s pensions are already at risk. This is just bad for Europe’s competitiveness across many sectors (medicine, chemistry, physics, telecommunication and many more). As patents get granted and assigned not just to European applicants (only the employees of the EPO are European), this may also means innovation will happen in the courts (lawyers’ strategies with patent trolls) rather than in the laboratories. Patent monopolies that are granted for the sake of being granted (artificially elevating some measure of EPO ‘output’) rather than to promote innovation can retard human progress as a whole. █
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Article as ODF
Publicado en GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Rumour, Ubuntu at 6:48 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
“Microsoft está coercionando a la gente a pagarle por patentes, pero no menciónan cuales. Si un tipo entra a una tienda y dice: “No es un barrio seguro, porque no me pagas 20 dólares y me aseguraré de que nada te pase,” eso es ilegal. Es chantaje.”
Summary: Teniendo en cuenta los últimos movimientos de Canonical, algunos expertos piensan que es posible que Shuttleworth elija el dinero a Microsoft sobre principios sino también inste para que esto ocurra
DESPUÉS de evitar a los medios de comunicación durante semanas o incluso meses (Googlebombing “Linux” en las noticias) y chantajeando compañías de Linux utilizando patentes de software (por paquetes, no sólo los pagos), mientras que cabildea por unas patentes de software más fuertes que crecen cada vez más preocupados en la fase del “abrazo” (como en EEE) continúa hacia la siguiente “extender”. Microsoft ya está pagando a Canonical (esperen que Shuttleworth no se atreve a decir nada negativo de Microsoft) y devore Ubuntu, al igual que lo hizo con Novell con Hyper-V (encerrándo a GNU/Linux en una cárcel de propiedad de Microsoft).
“Microsoft ya está pagando a Canonical (esperen que Shuttleworth no se atreve a decir nada negativo de Microsoft) y devore Ubuntu, al igual que lo hizo con Novell con Hyper-V (encerrándo a GNU/Linux en una cárcel de propiedad de Microsoft).”
A partir de esta semana, sacando a luz la gran mentira (“Microsoft ama Linux”), Janakiram MSV desde el 1% ‘media/boquilla (waripolera de Bill Gates) dice que “la estrategia de código abierto de Microsoft esta incompleta sin esta adquisición” (alude a Canónical).
“Para hacer el caso más fuerte, aquí están algunas de las razones por las que Microsoft debería considerar la adquisición de Canonical”, escribió. Como Susan Linton puso esta mañana: “Cuando la Microsoft y Canonical nueva relación amistosa todavía está en la mente de muchos, Janakiram MSV aseguró que” hoy la estrategia de código abierto de Microsoft es incompleta “sin ellos. Dijo Microsoft está tratando de cambiar su imagen lejos de ser sólo para Windows, sólo tiene sentido comprar Canonical. Ubuntu tiene millones de usuarios y “. Un ejército de desarrolladores y administradores de sistemas” Aparte de la gente, Canonical viene con LXD, Snappy Ubuntu Core y Juju – todas las cosas que podrían hacer más competitivo Microsoft en el Cloud y IT. Para Janakiram, no hay inconvenientes para Microsoft.”
“No es impensable que Microsoft por lo menos atente comprar a Canonical.”
Hace dos años hemos escuchado posts como “¿Por qué Microsoft debería comprar Canónical?” y el año pasado hubo rumores en ese sentido.
No es impensable que Microsoft podría al menos tratar de comprar Canonical. Ya intentó la contratar (caza furtiva) administrador de la comunidad de Canonical de Ubuntu (este, con coraje que saludamos se negó). Pero ¿el señor Shuttleworth vendería más de lo que ya lo ha hecho? Shuttleworth dejó algunos comentarios aquí en los días después de haber comprado licencias de códecs (por las patentes de software) de Microsoft. Eso fue hace 8 años.
“Eso es extorsión y deberíamos llamarlo como lo es. Decir, como Ballmer dijo, que hay un no publico balance de liabilidad, eso simplemente es extorsión y deberíamos rechazar dejar arrastrárnos a ese juego.”
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“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”
Summary: Taking some of Canonical’s recent moves into account, some pundits not only think it’s possible for Shuttleworth to choose Microsoft money over principles but also urge for this to happen
AFTER gaming the media for weeks if not months (googlebombing “Linux” in the news) and blackmailing Linux companies using software patents (for bundling, not just payments) while lobbying for a stronger software patents impact we grow increasingly concerned that the “embrace” phase (as in E.E.E.) is moving forward to “extend”. Microsoft is already paying Canonical (expect Shuttleworth to dare not say anything negative about Microsoft) and devouring Ubuntu, just like Novell with Hyper-V (enclosing GNU/Linux in a proprietary jail of Microsoft).
“Microsoft is already paying Canonical (expect Shuttleworth to dare not say anything negative about Microsoft) and devouring Ubuntu, just like Novell with Hyper-V (enclosing GNU/Linux in a proprietary jail of Microsoft).”Starting this week, sporting the big lie (“Microsoft loves Linux”), Janakiram MSV from the 1%’s media/mouthpiece (Bill Gates’ cheerleader) says that “Microsoft’s Open Source Strategy Is Incomplete Without This Acquisition” (he alludes to Canonical).
“To make the case stronger, here are a few reasons why Microsoft should consider acquiring Canonical,” he wrote. As Susan Linton put it this morning: “With Microsoft and Canonical’s new chummy relationship still on the minds of many, Janakiram MSV today said “Microsoft’s Open Source strategy is incompletely” without them. He said with Microsoft trying to change their image away from being Windows-only, it only makes sense to buy Canonical. Ubuntu has millions of users and “an army of developers and system administrators.” Besides people, Canonical comes with LXD, Snappy Ubuntu Core, and Juju – all things that could make Microsoft more competitive in the cloud and IoT. To Janakiram, there are no downsides for Microsoft.”
“It’s not unthinkable that Microsoft would at least attempt to buy Canonical.”Two years ago we heard of posts like “Why Microsoft should buy Canonical” and last year there were rumours to that effect.
It’s not unthinkable that Microsoft would at least attempt to buy Canonical. It already tried hiring (poaching) Canonical’s community manager for Ubuntu (he declined). But would Mr. Shuttleworth sell out more than he already does? Mr. Shuttleworth left some comments here back in the days after he had bought codec licences (for software patents) from Microsoft. That was 8 years ago. █
“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”
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“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”
–LinuxToday Managing Editor
Summary: A longer and more detailed analysis of Microsoft’s official takeover of the Mono team (and by extension a so-called ‘company’, whose finances are secret but are linkable back to Microsoft through Ignition Partners)
THERE is a sense of relief now that Microsoft has ‘collected’ its moles; they’re back home (or at the ‘base’) where they belong. Our latest post on this matter (we covered it shortly after this became publicly known, hence composed in somewhat of a rush) is quite a few days old. That post, which focused on Xamarin‘s role and duties for Microsoft, was a little tongue-in-cheek, and it probably lacked context which those who are unfamiliar with these matters may truly need.
“After Novell had purchased Ximian this move was characterised by a Novell executive as a “red carpet” (to a Microsoft deal).”Techrights has spent nearly a decade writing about Novell, which was the previous incubator or ‘host’ (in a sort of embryonic sense) of Mono (see this Wiki page for a detailed chronology). After Novell had purchased Ximian this move was characterised by a Novell executive as a “red carpet” (to a Microsoft deal). See this complete transcript from 10 years ago. A lot of people don’t remember this; nor do they remember the significant role which Miguel de Icaza personally played in Microsoft and Novell coming to their patent deal — a subject which we wrote about many times before (de Icaza’s role was noted by Novell dissenters almost a decade ago).
Michael Meeks (formerly of Novell) wrote the other day: “Pleased to see Miguel & Nat exit to Microsoft” (direct quote).
“It’s like both of them were engaged to Microsoft for a decade but only officially celebrated in a wedding ceremony (and tied the knot as the saying goes) last week.”Nat had worked for Microsoft before he worked for Novell and Miguel too had visited Microsoft and loved them. For Meeks, as their former colleague (at Novell), it’s easy to sympathise, but did they ever “exit”? They were always there. They have only just made it official. It’s like both of them were engaged to Microsoft for a decade but only officially celebrated in a wedding ceremony (and tied the knot as the saying goes) last week.
The news about Microsoft buying Xamarin was mostly covered by the Microsoft side and Microsoft boosters, not FOSS or GNU/Linux sites. This in itself is rather telling and revealing. Oh, how things have changed! Here’s Microsoft’s Mouth and the Microsoft-friendly Tim Anderson covering this, the latter noting: “Remember the Nokia devices acquisition? That went well. Not”
“Microsoft now intends to use Xamarin to further its E.E.E. (embrace, extend, extinguish) agenda inside Android.”Nokia was another case of Microsoft moles, notably Elop. It was designed to tear apart Linux and Nokia.
Microsoft now intends to use Xamarin to further its E.E.E. (embrace, extend, extinguish) agenda inside Android. Why? Because other such efforts, including the Cyanogen plan, are evidently failing. There’s no headway. As Anderson put it in a separate article:
Microsoft has officially scrapped its Android to Windows 10 bridge, codenamed Astoria, but is forging ahead with its Objective C Windows compiler and tools for porting iOS applications.
The Android announcement was expected, as the project was apparently abandoned some months back, but the new post from Windows Developer Platform VP Kevin Gallo adds some background.
Right now Microsoft uses Miguel de Icaza to make developers defect to Windows. When Xamarin was its own company, backed by people from Microsoft, it didn’t quite work out. People — and developers in particular — just weren’t foolish enough. “De Icaza told me in the past that he’s rich,” Stephane Rodriguez told us 9 years ago, so we know that Microsoft pays such moles enough to make them do almost anything. Xamarin was an attempt to infiltrate the development world on behalf of Microsoft. Based on lack of press coverage, we very much doubt it was financially sustainable without all the VC money from Microsoft folks, who were understandably trying to keep it afloat.
“Right now Microsoft uses Miguel de Icaza to make developers defect to Windows.”Overlapping the announcement of the Xamarin takeover was this important news covered in articles such as “Microsoft confirms: Android-on-Windows Astoria tech is gone”, “Microsoft’s plan to port Android apps to Windows is dead”, “Microsoft Confirms Android-To-Windows Tool ‘Project Astoria’ Is Dead”, and “Microsoft is ditching Android app ports for Windows Phone”.
Miguel de Icaza was perhaps Microsoft’s Plan B, much like Elop inside Nokia. As one Microsoft apologist put it the other day (in his headline), “Microsoft: Use Xamarin to port Android apps to Windows” (sounds like the same thing as above, except the above just got axed).
“Miguel de Icaza was perhaps Microsoft’s Plan B, much like Elop inside Nokia.”Microsoft propagandists such as Simon Bisson sure are happy for Miguel de Icaza and other Microsoft saboteurs, whose goal wasn’t to help either GNU/Linux or Free software but to advance Microsoft’s interests and financial gain. “Embrace, extend, eat” is how this article from The Register summed it up (in its seminal report about the takeover). “Strangely patents were not mentioned,” iophk wrote to us, alluding to this analogous report from Wired. To quote: “Given the number of startups that have been purchased by larger companies primarily for their engineering talent, not their products—a strategy called “acquihiring”—developers may worry that Xamarin’s technology could go away after this acquisition. Microsoft insists this isn’t the case. “This is definitely not an acquihire,” says Scott Guthrie, the executive vice president of the Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group. “There are more than 300 people on the Xamarin team. We very much view this acquisition as an opportunity to take what they’ve built and make it a core part of our strategy.””
It seems quote possible that Microsoft is just “acquihiring” in this case, as we noted in our first post about it. However, let’s not forget that VC money for Xamarin came from former Microsoft staff (Ignition Partners), so if anyone pockets the money here, then it’s them (that’s like Microsoft giving money back… to Microsoft people). Groomed by Microsoft for over a decade, Xamarin is probably the last incarnation of what was Ximian, then Novell, and later Xamarin. Now it’s called what it really is: Microsoft.
“We were right about Mono, Miguel de Icaza, and Xamarin, just as we were right about Novell and Nokia in the patent sense.”According to this report from the New YoRk Times, “Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it was buying Xamarin, a company that helps software developers write applications for mobile devices. The price was not disclosed, but is believed to be more than $300 million.”
As we often point out here, many of these figures are bogus. They’re more like accounting tricks that make both the buyer and the acquired entity look bigger than they really are; it surely fools an already-gullible media when sometimes all that happens is that shares move from place to place, i.e. no money exchanges hands at all.
“Microsoft came first; what’s why he was pushed away by FOSS people.”All in all, the whole thing proves we were right all along. We were right about Mono, Miguel de Icaza, and Xamarin, just as we were right about Novell and Nokia in the patent sense. Miguel de Icaza has, consistently over the years, served Microsoft’s agenda and now it’s payday again. He hardly ever truly worked for FOSS; Now he’s a Microsoft employee. Miguel de Icaza turned to Microsoft not because FOSS people pushed him away. Microsoft came first; what’s why he was pushed away by FOSS people. Bruce Byfield, a longtime Novell (and Mono) apologist, gets it all in reverse in his analysis which begins thusly:
Just before I settled down to write today, I read that Microsoft had acquired Xamarin, the company founded by Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman. To many, the news is the logical end to a story that has been unfolding for years now, and if the first cries of, “Traitors!” have not appeared on blogs and articles, then I expect they are only a matter of time.
Perhaps Byfield can finally admit that it was us who were right all along, not him. On de Icaza, one person told me the other day: “I remember him back in ‘the day’ on IRC. he was always considered a crazy compromizer.”
“In summary, Miguel gets money from Microsoft. Again.”He was always like that. He didn’t just magically turn out that way. In fact, a lot of this started when he tried to get hired by Microsoft, way back in the 1990s.
A decent article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) says: “In 2011, Attachmate laid off the Mono team. De Icaza then founded Xamarin with an eventual total of $82-million in venture capital to give it a home.”
“The future of APIs, patents and mobile-centric operating systems is at stake now.”Well, money from Microsoft veterans/retirees (for the most part). It was pretty much back then that Microsoft ‘bought’ de Icaza; it just left him as peripheral/external because it’s easier to use him as a proxy or mole that way.
In summary, Miguel gets money from Microsoft. Again. E.E.E. didn’t work out this time around, but Miguel had his safety net. Now his salaries will come directly from his longtime boss (at Novell too a lot of the money came from Microsoft).
This post is not a personal attack. But since many people out there are too timid to mention names and say things as they see them, someone probably has to. Anything else is self-censorship.
If any of the above is not accurate or not correct, please point out specifically what it is. We welcome an open debate on this. The future of APIs, patents and mobile-centric operating systems is at stake now. █
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The patent ploy of Microsoft and Novell isn’t quite bearing fruit
Summary: The Microsoft-led CPTN now has Novell’s software patents, so the Microsoft-Novell-SUSE deal has officially come to an end, and there’s no sign of it ever continuing, with or without patents
WHEN Microsoft signed a 5-year deal with SUSE we called for/asked our readers to boycott SUSE. This deal has just officially come to an end, as we noted yesterday. Now, to be frank, there is not much to be said about it as two articles by Sam Varghese explored this subject a couple of months ago [1, 2] and this deal does not appear to have much to do with patents, so we don’t need to worry too much.
“So much for relying on Microsoft as a ‘partner’…”
–The deal was signed in 2011. An article from around that time took note of CPTN, saying: “In fact, it is so much money that it’s fair to argue that Novell would have imploded without the Microsoft cash injections and sold for a lot less money than the $2.2bn that Attachmate paid to get control of it. (The net cost to Attachmate was less than half of that, however, thanks to the cash Novell had on hand and another $450m that a consortium led by Microsoft paid for 880 of Novell’s patents.)”
What’s interesting here is that SUSE is no longer so ‘special’ a child in Microsoft’s eyes. So much for relying on Microsoft as a ‘partner’… █
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