Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Promotes SUSE Coupons (Software Patents)


Summary: Why does Microsoft so desperately try to replace GNU/Linux with patent coupons (Ballnux)?

A LOT of headlines this week boasted a growth for SUSE. The coverage was inspired by a press release referring to an insignificant milestone rather than an event or a new release of some kind. Now, look at the press release (copies here and here). It's primarily from Microsoft. It has only Microsoft's logo on it.

“The less FOSS-aware people are among those who just believed what Microsoft/Novell had claimed...”It says a a lot about who benefits from those SUSE coupons, which Microsoft agents are already calling what they are. On April 21st 2008 Matt Asay wrote: "I've heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons "royalty payments"..."

It is worth noticing that it's the Microsoft PR person who wrote about Microsoft/Novell's latest rave over at CNET (not the open source people, who deliberately ignored it). The less FOSS-aware people are among those who just believed what Microsoft/Novell had claimed (and thus parroted the press release), despite the fact that no major contracts were actually signed. There was probably some artistic rendition with statistics/arithmetic there.

Other Microsoft-friendly sources covered this and so did Ziff-Davis, which is working with/for Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4].

The Microsoft and Novell Interoperability Lab was inaugurated in September 2007 in a joint effort from the two companies to build interoperability between their respective platforms. At that time, the lab could also be considered the celebration of the first year since Microsoft and Novell inked their interoperability and intellectual property assurance agreement. On June 10, as the duo announced that it had surpassed the $200 million mark with sales of SUSE Linux support certificates, the companies emphasized that they continued to focus on providing additional value for customers running mixed source environments.

Watch that last page. It requires Silverlight, which is not available for GNU/Linux users (only for Mac and Windows users). The same site has another "yes men" placement repeating pretty much the same message, all uncritically of course. Not only has Novell -- by its own admission -- struck no major deals, but it also continues to flaunt "intellectual property" whilst an article from a few days ago reveals that Novell carries on applying for software patents. Latest ones:

Method and framework for using XML files to modify network resource configurations , patent No. 7,546,313, invented by Kelly Sonderegger of Santaquin, assigned to Novell, Inc. of Provo.

Methods and systems for managing network traffic by multiple constraints , patent No. 7,546,367, invented by Jamshid Mahdavi of San Jose, Calif., assigned to Novell, Inc. of Provo.

"Using XML files to modify network resource configurations," eh? So Novell is now obtaining XML-related patents. It's good to know. It's bad for Free software.

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