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04.26.16

More Rumours and Calls Surrounding Prospects of Microsoft Buying Canonical (Ubuntu and More)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Rumour, Ubuntu at 6:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“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.”

Mark Shuttleworth

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.”

Mark Shuttleworth

02.28.16

The Simple Truth About What Xamarin Was All Along to Microsoft, Just Like Ximian and Novell (Post-Patent Deal)

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 7:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”

LinuxToday Managing Editor

Big caterpillar

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.

01.01.16

Microsoft-Taxed SUSE is No Longer Receiving Microsoft’s ‘Blessing’, Microsoft-SUSE Deal Not Renewed

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 9:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The patent ploy of Microsoft and Novell isn’t quite bearing fruit

Gates on SUSE

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’…

12.31.15

Microsoft’s Latest Patent Aggression Comes Under Fire From the EFF, Former GNU/Linux Company the Patent’s Target

Posted in Corel, Courtroom, EFF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘new’ Microsoft…

Satya Ballmer
Satya Ballmer: different face, same strategy/policy

Summary: Microsoft continues its vicious patent war on anything resembling competition (however small), even the competition against which Microsoft previously committed competition abuses/crimes (subject of court cases) in order to attain total monopoly

MICROSOFT, which is connected to many patent trolls (including Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest), is still busy suing companies. Microsoft has a long history of patent aggression, including patent litigation against Linux (not just threats thereof). As longtime readers of this site may know, this and only this was the raison d’être of this Web site.

“…since winning a case for infringement of design patents can lead to a damage analysis based on “lost profits,” which can theoretically lead to a patent owner getting all of a defendant’s profits.”
      –Joe Mullin
As we noted the other day, referring to the original from the EFF, Microsoft is now attacking a company that once dominated word processing. Microsoft allegedly engaged in competition crimes against this company, leading to decades of expensive litigation. This company also pioneered some important GNU/Linux efforts until Microsoft shut these down with a mysterious deal (which we wrote about on several occasions around 2007). Well, Microsoft is now trying to drive this company into bankruptcy, using patents.

What’s the name of this company? Corel. We have a whole category about Corel (with 51 articles, as well as leaked court documents). History is important here and it’s imperative that people properly study Corel to truly grasp how severe this situation really is.

Microsoft is now attacking Corel with what the EFF calls “Stupid Patent of the Month”. As noted by one good journalist (Joe Mullin), “it’s serious ammo, since winning a case for infringement of design patents can lead to a damage analysis based on “lost profits,” which can theoretically lead to a patent owner getting all of a defendant’s profits.”

“Remember the company called Novell? Yes, that company that pretty much vanished half a decade ago and whose patent/special deal with Microsoft (SUSE) will expire tomorrow (there are no signs of renewal or continuation).”In other words, expect layoffs, liquidation, bankruptcy, etc. Legal fees aren’t low, either. Remember the company called Novell? Yes, that company that pretty much vanished half a decade ago and whose patent/special deal with Microsoft (SUSE) will expire tomorrow (there are no signs of renewal or continuation). Other than the name being similar, Novell and Corel have a lot in common because both competed against Microsoft until signing some infamous deals with Microsoft, leading to their demise, as well as the demise of their ongoing court cases against Microsoft (for competition abuses/crimes). When Novell imploded Microsoft grabbed its patents. Sweet deal for Microsoft. Novell is virtually gone (devoured by another company) and its patents are in CPTN, which is a ‘conglomerate’ pool of Linux and Android foes such as Oracle and Apple.

“Microsoft is now using patents primarily against Android, which the company is at war against (don’t believe the pretenses and the “loves Linux” baloney).”We quite liked how Glyn Moody framed the situation in his article “If Microsoft Wins Its ‘Stupid Patent Of The Month’ Lawsuit, Expect A Plague Of Trolls To Move Into Design Patents”.

As if Microsoft itself is not somewhat of a massive troll itself (we wrote a lot about this before). Just look what the company has been doing with patents this past decade. “The recent Techdirt article about Microsoft’s design patent on a slider,” Moody wrote, “understandably focused on the absurdity of companies being forced to hand over all of the profits that derive from a product if it is found to have infringed on someone else’s design patent even in just a tiny portion of that product. But there’s another angle worth mentioning here that picks up on something Techdirt has written about several times before: the rise and threat of patent thickets. Back in 2012, it was estimated that 250,000 active patents impacted smartphones. That makes it impossible to build devices without licensing large numbers of patents, and even then, it’s likely that claims of infringement will still be brought.”

Microsoft is now using patents primarily against Android, which the company is at war against (don’t believe the pretenses and the "loves Linux" baloney).

“The EPO’s lawyers who currently deal with my case were also recently seen working from the same side as Microsoft on the patent front, based on Reuters.”Here is another new article about Microsoft’s “Stupid Patent of the Month”. “The design patent,” says Softpedia, “numbered D554,140, basically states that Microsoft is the owner of the slider you can see in the photo attached to the article. This is the very same slider that the company uses in its Office productivity suite to allow users to zoom in or out of documents, but it has also been implemented in a wide variety of Microsoft and non-Microsoft products.”

But when patent examiners are pressured to issue patents in bulk and/or do a rushed job (as in the EPO for example, with Microsoft being on the high-priority list), no wonder such nonsense gets granted, leaving European courts to sort out the mess at a huge expense to the defendants. It is worth noting again that only articles of mine which mentioned Microsoft were even the target of threatening legal letters from the EPO’s lawyers, which gives room for speculation. The EPO’s lawyers who currently deal with my case were also recently seen working from the same side as Microsoft on the patent front, based on Reuters.

11.18.15

Xamarin is Still All About Microsoft, Still Excluding GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 9:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Miguel de Icaza
via Wikipedia but with the GIMP treatment

Summary: The de facto Microsoft satellite known as Xamarin reveals that it is still little more than a Microsoft mobile division

LAST MONTH we wrote about Xamarin‘s absorption of a FOSS Android tool, which quickly turned proprietary (almost instantaneously while takeover negotiations took place). Xamarin Studio, like a lot of Xamarin’s proprietary software, does nor even run on GNU/Linux. There is hardly any pretence anymore that Miguel de Icaza and his Microsoft-connected ilk even care about FOSS. These traitors show their true colours and disdain for anything FOSS.

“There is hardly any pretence anymore that Miguel de Icaza and his Microsoft-connected ilk even care about FOSS.”According to Microsoft's booster at El Reg (Anderson), the latest release from Xamarin still has no Java, just Microsoft lock-in like .NET, XAML, etc. To quote his piece:

Xamarin releases version 4.0 of its cross-platform mobile developer suite

[...]

The company has grown rapidly, since it solves a problem for Microsoft-platform developers who now need to target mobile, especially following the failure of Windows Phone to achieve significant market share. “We have over 10,000 customers, 350 consulting partners and 2,000 integration partners,” Friedman told the Reg.

When will everyone recognise that the real motivation at Xamarin is serving as some kind of Microsoft satellite or proxy? Nothing good has come of Xamarin since Novell dumped (laid off all the employees of) Mono and a firm/VC connected to Microsoft became its sugar daddy.

11.16.15

Red Hat-Microsoft Deal Increasingly Resembles Novell-Microsoft Deal (Including Patent Aspects)

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 5:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Systemd to be used for technical and support leverage in the same way Mono was?

Embrace and Extend
Credit: unknown (Twitter)

Summary: Red Hat’s current management, which technically liaises (more deeply over time) with Microsoft, agrees on patents, works with the NSA, and increasingly deviates from the UNIX way (while becoming more secretive, except the openwashing), inevitably reminds us of Novell

Microsoft and the board- or shareholders-driven Red Hat now seem more and more like Microsoft and Novell, based on some of the latest reports and even press releases like this one [PDF].

“The Microsoft/Red Hat partnership calls for a Red Hat engineering team to actually move to Redmond,” to quote a new report. [1]

“And don’t forget the patent agreement that they still refuse to tell us more about.”Mirroring the Microsoft-Novell ‘special relationship’, there is a lot of technical integration too. The men in suit “said that in the coming months Red Hat Enterprise Linux images will be enabled for on-demand billing directly in its marketplace.” Billing by who? Microsoft? Red Hat? It’s complicated. And don’t forget the patent agreement that they still refuse to tell us more about [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10].

Jono Bacon, from GitHub and Red Hat’s “Open Organization” [sic] marketing campaign, defends the companies’ new relationship (as he would defend his former employer, Canonical, as well). Citing a sort of Microsoft proxy and a new Red Hat partner (Black Duck), he frames this relationship as necessary and recalls that “Microsoft went a step further with then-CEO Steve Ballmer describing the poster-child of the open source revolution, Linux, as “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

“Red Hat is living in a dream if it genuinely believes that a deal with Microsoft will leave them better off than Linspire or Novell.”Well, based on Nadella’s actions against Samsung, Kyocera, and Dell (there are more examples), he too views Linux as “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.” Nadella insists on still using patents against Linux, and against Android in particular (using patents pertaining to the kernel, Linux).

Under Nadella’s management, Microsoft is even trying to delete Android from phones (we first took note of this at the beginning of this year and later on) or even absorb its software into Windows — a strategy which Microsoft reportedly did in fact consider [2]. It’s like a derivative of the famous “embrace, extend, extinguish” strategy. Under Nadella there was also further lockdown of UEFI, impeding or making impossible installation of GNU/Linux on PCs that come with Microsoft’s unpopular spyware.

Red Hat is living in a dream if it genuinely believes that a deal with Microsoft will leave them better off than Linspire or Novell. Or maybe it can leave Red Hat just better off than everyone else in the GNU/Linux world. Red Hat’s patent agreement with Microsoft, concurrent with Microsoft attacking Android (with software patents), is truly problematic and we will escalate if Red Hat does not respond to us or becomes transparent by the end of this month. A lot of people want answers. The “Open Organization” [sic] ignores these people. It’s inherently antithetical to players in a community of developers.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. For Red Hat and Microsoft Together, the Cloud Beckons

    The Microsoft/Red Hat partnership calls for a Red Hat engineering team to actually move to Redmond to provide joint technical support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux workloads running in the Microsoft Azure public cloud and on its hybrid cloud offerings. That ensures that the companies will have closely tied cloud computing goals.

  2. Microsoft shelves ‘suicidal’ Android-on-Windows plan

    Microsoft has sidelined its plan to allow Windows 10 devices to run Android apps before it could do any serious damage, according to a report.

    Daniel Rubino at the Windows Central blog gathered some convincing evidence that Microsoft’s Project Astoria has been wound down, while the runtime allowing the Android-on-Win10 magic to work has disappeared.

11.12.15

Techrights Turns 9

Posted in Microsoft, Novell at 8:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A birthday cake

Summary: It has been 9 years since the Novell-Microsoft deal and right now we are trying to find out just what exactly Red Hat did with Microsoft regarding patents

TECHRIGHTS has recently been focused on EPO affairs. We were always focused on patents here. That’s why we don’t write much about matters such as systemd.

As Shane Coyle put it at the very start: “The way to communicate with a corporation is economically” because Novell, when it signed a patent agreement with Microsoft, chose to “violate the very license that allows them to distribute the community’s work in the first place” (using software patents).

“We are still waiting for Red Hat staff whom we spoke to (no names needed here) to press the management of Red Hat to disclose what was agreed on, regarding patents, in the Microsoft-Red Hat deal.”Unfortunately, just 9 years later (almost exactly 9 years) Red Hat chose to betray the community in a similar way [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], but what Red Hat did is very different because no patent payments were involved, just a form of legitimisation of Microsoft’s patents. We are still waiting for Red Hat staff whom we spoke to (no names needed here) to press the management of Red Hat to disclose what was agreed on, regarding patents, in the Microsoft-Red Hat deal. We will continue to pressure for this kind of transparency from the self-acclaimed “Open Organization” [sic]. We need real answers, not in the form of some vague FAQ which does nothing to suggest entities other than Red Hat and its paid customers are ‘safe’ from Microsoft patent litigation. Remember that .NET too remains a patent trap [1, 2] and it’s part of the Microsoft-Red Hat deal.

“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”

Bob Muglia, Microsoft President

11.05.15

More Information Emerges About the Microsoft-Red Hat Patent Agreement

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 7:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good for Red Hat, not so much for anybody else…

Red Hat and Microsoft

Summary: Informed (GNU/Linux-centric) journalists who looked beyond the misleading press releases and the distracting marketing campaign have managed to find out and highlight the patent issues associated with the Red Hat-Microsoft deal

AS WE noted in our previous coverage, Red Hat does not want anyone to speak about — let alone know — the patent aspects of its deal with Microsoft. Most articles, following a dry (on facts, not on marketing) press release, say nothing about it. Here is one puff piece that plays along with the “Microsoft Loves Linux” narrative, which is extremely misleading (lulling us into dangerous optimism). The author writes: “It’s a long way from the days when the former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer described Linux as a “cancer.” Last year his successor, Satya Nadella, proclaimed that “Microsoft Loves Linux” mainly because of its importance in the cloud.” No, Nadella is still attacking Linux and Android using patents. Consider the deals with Samsung, Kyocera, ASUS and Dell. Patent extortion in action!

“Microsoft Loves Linux” hype… is just not true… covertly spread open-source-related FUD…”
      –Simon Phipps
We quite liked Simon Phipps’ take on this (without IDG’s editorial shadow). He is the former head of the OSI, so this matters a lot. He wrote:

All the same, let’s be clear that all the “Microsoft Loves Linux” hype I saw at SUSECon in Amsterdam yesterday and at other events earlier this year is just not true. Microsoft Azure loves Linux, there is no doubt; it is a basic requirement for them to become relevant on a cloud market dominated by AWS and Linux. They have been out in force at every commercially-oriented open source I have attended this year and have a full-scale charm offensive in place.

But the rest of the company still does not. They still seem to covertly spread open-source-related FUD about LibreOffice here in Europe. They haven’t foresworn making embedded Linux vendors pay for patent licenses of dubious necessity. The Azure business unit is certainly embracing the ecosystem the same as many before them have done so in their steps towards open source. But the Windows and Office business units show no signs of “loving” Linux and only modest signs of co-existing with open source.

[...]

If they want to signal the end of hostilities, step one is to sign the Mozilla Open Software Patent License Agreement or join OIN. Until one of those happens, I remain sceptical of Microsoft’s love for Linux.

“Microsoft” and “Love” don’t belong in the same sentence. These sociopaths, as I only recently found out, tried to get me fired from my job. Microsoft hardly even behaves like a normal company. It’s more like an informant (of the NSA among others) and a cult, led by a fake ‘philanthropist’ egoistic thug.

Writing for IDG, Phipps softened his words somewhat and wrote: “Software patents have also been a sticking point. Red Hat made clear that it does not acknowledge the validity or enforceability of Microsoft’s patents, but all the same has demanded a stand-still agreement guaranteeing neither company will pursue patent claims against the other or its customers. There’s no indication whether this extends to partner ecosystems.

“As opposed to the Novell SUSE patent covenant, the Red Hat Microsoft partnership now provides for what Red Hat is referring to as a patent standstill in the FAQ.”
      –Sean Michael Kerner
“That is a key issue for the open source community. While its Azure business unit has been professing love for Linux and smothering everything in penguins, the rest of Microsoft has carried on attacking the Linux ecosystem with patent claims and showing little accommodation for open source in its cash cow Windows and Office endeavors. Azure may be desperate for validation in a tough an competitive market, but the rest of Microsoft still needs to change more than going silent on its antipathy for open source.”

Writing for another big publisher (but not IDG), Sean Michael Kerner shed some light on the patent situation:

The path to the Microsoft Red Hat partnership has followed a long and winding road over a decade of mistrust and competition. In 2007, Microsoft alleged that open-source software infringes on more than 200 of its patents. Previous Microsoft partnerships with Linux vendors, including SUSE (formerly part of Novell), involved a patent covenant to deal with intellectual property issues. At the time of the Novell deal, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was very clear on his views about Linux patents; he noted that Microsoft’s deal was only with Novell SUSE Linux, and others still have an issue with infringing on Microsoft’s intellectual property.

In an FAQ posted by Red Hat, the company states, “Red Hat and Microsoft have agreed to a limited patent arrangement in connection with the commercial partnership for the benefit of mutual customers.” As opposed to the Novell SUSE patent covenant, the Red Hat Microsoft partnership now provides for what Red Hat is referring to as a patent standstill in the FAQ.

In response to a question from eWEEK, Cormier strongly emphasized that Red Hat remains true to its core open-source principles and is not compromising on them in the Microsoft partnership.

“Red Hat and Microsoft did not acknowledge the validity or value of each other’s patents,” Cormier said. “This is a commercial deal spurred by strong customer demand for our solutions to work together.”

“In order for the deal to work, Scott [Guthrie] and I agreed early on that it would only work if neither of us compromised our core business principles, and we did not,” Cormier said.

Senior Red Hat employees who have spoken to me about this have done effectively nothing to refute what I wrote. One of them falsely claimed that I compared this to the Novell deal (I didn’t, it would make no sense).

Not many people have noticed the part about patents because Red Hat did a fine job hiding it. Phoronix just said that “Microsoft and Red Hat have jointly announced a partnership today to “deliver more flexibility and choice” in the cloud.”

That sounds a little bit like Novell and Microsoft trying to characterise their patent deal (colluding against GNU/Linux vendors other than Novell) as “collaboration”, “interoperability”, and so on. Tim Anderson, a Microsoft booster from The Register, did not mention anything about patents.

“Due to layoffs there are limited resources and Microsoft is now counting on patents as a strategy against GNU/Linux. “As other articles from The Register serve to remind us, Vista 10 has been a catastrophe (The Register, to its credit, wrote a great deal about this). Its latest article makes is apparent that OEMs too — not just useds [sic] — will be force-fed Vista 10 pretty soon. As it was put two days ago, “Satya Nadella’s firm has quietly let slip that October 31, 2016, will be the final day for PC makers to buy copies of the operating system for pre-install.”

Microsoft cannot maintain Windows like it did back in the days of Windows XP. Due to layoffs there are limited resources and Microsoft is now counting on patents as a strategy against GNU/Linux. It promotes people accordingly. Let’s not forget other assaults on GNU/Linux, such as UEFI restricted boot, which complicates and at times makes impossible installation of GNU/Linux on whiteboxes.

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