Bonum Certa Men Certa

Why Linux Did Not Need Microsoft's Code Injection

Plaster



Summary: The Novell-supported patch brings a software patents debate into Linux and also leverages Windows

Microsoft claims credit for writing a loadable module for Linux, conveniently characterising it as goodwill. Yesterday we wrote about Novell's role in this advancement of Windows [1, 2] (using the massive Linux program, which Novell has rights over). Going back to the roots of this module, it is almost as though Novell invited Microsoft to Linux. Unofficial Microsoft PR blogs seem to confirm Novell's role.



Microsoft Introduces Linux to Software Patents (from the Inside)



Matt Aslett and Jay Lyman from the 451 Group write this Q&A, which concludes with:

Absent the company giving up on software patents altogether, we believe that in order to convince those FOSS advocates that it is serious about co-existence, Microsoft needs to find a way to publicly communicate details about those 200+ patents in such a way that is not seen as a threat and would enable open source developers to license, work around, or challenge them. We also believe that the company is aware of this, although finding a solution to the problem will not be easy. But then neither was contributing code to Linux under the GPLv2.


There is also a Q&A from RedMonk.

“Going back to the roots of this module, it is almost as though Novell invited Microsoft to Linux.”One reader has told us that Horacio Gutierrez, one of the key men behind the racketeering operation against Linux, is now writing about "The new world of patent licensing for Linux" in the company's lobbying blog. "The article describes patent licensing and Linux development under the GPL as something that belongs together," explains the reader, who quotes from the blog: "real-life proof of Microsoft’s desire to build new bridges among industry partners for the benefit of customers, relying on patent licensing agreements as a means of opening up collaboration opportunities by ensuring mutual respect of IP rights and the innovations they protect. This approach is not unique to Microsoft, but is instead the prevalent model for enabling open innovation in the technology world, consumer electronics being an excellent case in point. IP licensing will also continue to play a key role in facilitating the emergence of new categories of exciting devices that embody the convergence of previously disconnected technologies, such as new generations of mobile phones, mini computers like netbooks and smartbooks, and eBook readers."

Who said anything about patents?

As our reader Goblin puts it, what they are trying to say is that "It's OK to claim IP rights... as long as you are open about it... it's a no brainer, Microsoft needs to make money... the shareholders wouldn't like it acting "for the love of computers"... and for the casual observer it may appear happy and fluffy... this changes nothing. It's common sense that Microsoft would want to remove ANY competitor and any gestures made to the Open Source community IMO will be ones that benefit Microsoft. As I say, a proprietary firm doesn't run on kind gestures. This article has just dressed up what we already know."

At IDG, there is a bit of a chronology up for display, but it mostly praises Microsoft towards the end where the lawsuit against TomTom is conspicuously missing. It seemingly sells the impression that Microsoft improved over time.

Microsoft Monday made an historic move by submitting device drivers to the Linux kernel under a GPLv2 license. Microsoft has had a checkered past with both Linux and its open source GPL licensing structure, so the move was a jaw dropper. Here is a look at some of the milestones since Microsoft internal memos leaked in 1998 that attacked the open source Linux operating system as it began to pick up steam as an alternative to Windows.


It Was No "Donation"



Here is the opinion that "Microsoft code cannot taint Linux," but the matter of fact is that code which promotes Windows becomes part of Linux and it remains impossible to reject.

Not for nothing do many people in the FOSS community regard any moves by Microsoft in their direction as suspicious. But in this case, there is one leveller - the General Public License.

This is the same license that has been described as viral by the friendly folk at Redmond. This is one of the reasons why Steve Ballmer has likened Linux to a cancer.


The following explains why Microsoft did not choose the GPL; it was obliged to have it chosen, so it was no donation.

So, if my reasoning is correct, and I am very happy to be corrected, this is what seems to be the order of events:

1. MS want Linux to run on its Hyper-V platform

2. They develop and release drivers that use some GPL code and link to static GPL binaries. I don’t know where that original GPL code came from but it sure would be interesting to find out.

3. These drivers are in breach of the GPL and a third party notices

4. MS are forced, nicely, to comply with the GPL, just like every other organisation whose GPL breaches have been seriously challenged.

So, whilst this is all good and marvallous, especially if you want to run Linux on Windows, keep this other factlet in mind. Microsoft has shaken money out of at least 500 organisations including Linux distributers, claiming IP rights over code they have not written because of patents they refuse to identify in public.

This is an interesting story, but not in the way it is being told. Celebrate because we can chalk it up as a success…to the GPL.


Microsoft was actually pressured to publish the code.

Microsoft was actually pushed by the Linux driver project team to make this week’s historic code submission to the Linux kernel.


It's Business as Usual



More on Microsoft's motives:

Microsoft will play nice with Linux for the time being if it helps Windows Server gain ground as a computing platform in the data center. But the company's ambitious goals haven't changed, and its long-term vision leaves little room for Linux and other open-source technologies.


As our reader Fewa puts it, "I have no problem with them releasing code under the GPL2, it's not a bad thing. But it needs to be noticed that this code does not help Linux. Just like with Xen, it's a method to exert some hardware-side control over Linux and also just to try to get a better position in virtualization."

“Just like with Xen, it's a method to exert some hardware-side control over Linux and also just to try to get a better position in virtualization.”
      --Fewa
Portraying this as generosity and goodwill is a huge stretch. Even Savio Rodrigues, who is sometimes sympathetic towards Microsoft, says that it "was a simple business decision," leading to the possible suspicion that this patch -- just like Mono and Moonlight for example -- is what Novell does for Microsoft to saturate GNU/Linux with code that is favourable to Windows at a technical level (never mind legal implications).

It ought to be added that criticism is deserved by several companies that generally pose a threat to Freedom and work around Linux, but Microsoft is among the very few who try to prevent us from using our operating system of choice, just as it committed violations to deprive OS/2 users of that same privilege. The patch was just business as usual, but PR efforts were blinding to many.

"Microsoft is unique among proprietary software companies: they are the only ones who have actively tried to kill Open Source and Free Software. It's not often someone wants to be your friend after trying to kill you for ten years, but such change is cause for suspicion."

--Bradley M. Kuhn (SFLC)

Comments

Recent Techrights' Posts

EPO Staff Representatives Say It Has Gotten Very Hard to Get Promoted (Forget About Getting Rewarded for Hard Work)
This has long been a problem
Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomics Committee (LOHSEC) at the European Patent Office (EPO)
nobody in EPO management ever gets punished for crimes, no matter how severe
Microsoft is Actually Quite Worthless, Its Valuation is Based on Lies and Consistently Defrauding Shareholders
Microsoft's future is not what Wall Street "tells" us
The Final Demise of Social Control Media May be Upon Us (It Ought to be Collectively Abandoned for Society's Sake)
If it keeps going down, prospects of a turnaround or rebound are slim
The Latest NDAA Amendment Can (or Should) Allow the United States to Remove Microsoft Even Faster From Its Infrastructure (Which Routinely Gets Cracked Completely by Russia and China, Thanks to Microsoft)
It's time to move!
 
EPO Staff Reps: "Until now, Mr Campinos is still leaving the appellants in the dark about the exact content of the opinion of the Appeals Committee on the EPO salary adjustment procedure."
Campinos chooses to lawyer up rather than listen up
[Meme] That Time EPO Workers Were Panicking Because the Elevators Kept Getting Stuck
Many people forgot that
[Video] Julian Assange's Brother Gabriel Shipton on How the Convoy to the Airport Was Arranged, Being at the Beach With Julian Assange After Release (He's Doing Well), and How Taylor Swift Has 'Helped' Julian
At the airport he was greeted by many press crews, but they were not there for him. They were there because of Taylor Swift.
[Meme] Financial Disinformation From Chatbots Controlled by the Manipulator (Rigger)
ChatGPT, the media is starting to say you're all hype...
Links 12/07/2024: Nations That Already Ban TikTok and Russia's 'Shadow War' Online
Links for the day
Gemini Links 12/07/2024: Changing and the WIPO Lunacy
Links for the day
Let's Encrypt Continues to Collapse in Geminispace and That's Good News for Free Speech (Among Other Things)
due to the way modern Web browsers work, many sites have no option but to use Let's Encrypt or pay for some other CA to issue some worthless-but-glorified bytes
Microsoft Falls Below 20% in Montenegro - Plunging to All-Time Low
sharp drop
[Meme] The Free Speech Absolutist From Apartheid South Africa
What will it take for all sensible people to quit X/Twitter?
Linux is Displacing Microsoft and Replacing Windows in Germany (Android Surge and New Highs for ChromeOS+GNU/Linux in Germany)
Germany is upgrading to GNU/Linux, not to latest Windows
Reorganising for Better Efficiency and More Publication (Original Material)
XBox "journalism" these days is mostly slop (chatbot spew disguised as news), so studying this matter isn't easy
Software Freedom is Still the FSF
At the moment the best advocacy group for Software Freedom is the FSF
Links 12/07/2024: XBox in Trouble, Crackdowns in UAE
Links for the day
Gemini Links 12/07/2024: Make Tea Not War, Considering Guix
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 11, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, July 11, 2024
Links 11/07/2024: Intuit Layoffs, Companies Keep Bricking Products
Links for the day
Gemini Links 11/07/2024: Switch to a Dumbphone and Development Frustrations
Links for the day
Starting in 5 Minutes: Stella Assange on the Latest...
We might update this page with a WebM copy (local) if there is something important
The Race to GNU/Linux in Moldova
12 years ago Microsoft was still measured at 99%
EPO: Special Permission Needed to be Ill or Care for the Ill When Issuing Monopolies to Foreign Corporations is a Paramount Priority
It's 'production' 'production' 'production'!
[Meme] A Special Patent Office, the EPO
"I have no death certificate yet"
Links 11/07/2024: Internet Phone Book and Intense Mind Control/Censorship by Social Control Media
Links for the day
Andreas Tille, Chris Lamb & Debian sexism, not listening to real female developers
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
GNU/Linux Expanding in Russia, But Not Exactly Invading the Market
Russian spies work at Microsoft
[Meme] GPL is Still an Alien Concept to the Boardroom of IBM
stomp all over copyleft while blackmailing the FSF into inaction
ChromeOS and GNU/Linux Also Leapfrog and Surpass Apple in Kenya
ChromeOS is at about 1% there, so 6% total (more than Apple)
[Meme] Pay Cash, Avoid Hidden Fees
Cashless society means a less free society
5 Weeks Have Passed Since the Edward Brocklesby (ejb) Scandal or 'Gate' Started. Debian Has Not Yet Responded in Any Way Whatsoever (to Quell Concerns/Fears).
still an ongoing series
The Media Cannot Use the B Word (Bribe) Anymore?
That might "offend" Microsoft
99 More to Go (in 9 Days)
Unless the FSF extends the 'cutoff' date as it usually does
Microsoft Windows in Bulgaria: From 99% to Barely a Quarter
Only 15 years ago it seemed like Windows had cemented its 'lead'
[Meme] Changing How We Think of Patents
they're only about serving and protecting powerful people
Our Most Productive Summer Since We Started (2006)
We have over 10,000 lines of written notes and drafts
Compare WIPO to ADR Forum
it is "rude" not to hire lawyers
[Meme] GPL Circumvention by IBM (Red Hat)
"GPL? All mine!"
GNU/Linux and ChromeOS in Costa Rica: Over 4% Now
Desktop (or Laptop) & Tablet & Mobile combined would be about 50% "Linux"
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 10, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, July 10, 2024
Links 11/07/2024: Space Programs, Education, and Mass Layoffs
Links for the day
Fellowship indexing pages by person
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship
US State Department admitted General Hugh S. Johnson went off-topic, Andreas Tille called for punishments
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gemini Links 11/07/2024: Shifting Interests and It's All Books Now
Links for the day
IBM (Red Hat) is Burning Away Its Investment in GNU and Linux
IBM will have nothing left but smoke
Emma Irwin, from Mozilla to Microsoft & Debian harassment rumors: the hidden report into Open Labs Hackerspace, Albania
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship
Let's Encrypt in a Freefall in Geminispace (More Capsules 'Get' It)
Getting a "cert" from a CA says nothing about legitimacy; any malicious site or malware author can get a 'free' one these days. It's like 'Trophy Of Participation' (where merely attending guarantees an award).
Statement on Daniel Pocock is Free Publicity for Daniel Pocock (Streisand Effect)
Since April when a new Debian Project Leader was elected...
Links 10/07/2024: War, Environment, and End of ICQ
Links for the day
What Microsoft Hopes Nobody Noticed During Independence Day Week/Weekend
Microsoft violated California's Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act
Gemini Links 10/07/2024: Recalling St.GIGA, smol.pub Tricks
Links for the day
Anti-Linux Sites, Powered by Microsoft to Generate False Text Under a Domain Like LinuxSecurity.com
They need to be named and shamed for doing this
Red Hat Developer (developers.redhat.com), Brought to You by Microsoft Staff to Promote Microsoft Proprietary Software That Doesn't Run on GNU/Linux
Yesterday at redhat.com
OSI Blog Posts From Salaried Microsoft Writers, Promoting Microsoft Proprietary Software and GPL-Violating Code Prison
OSI attacking its very own (original) mission
Apple's Main Competition Isn't Microsoft But Low-Cost Chromebooks and GNU/Linux Distros
Case of Dominica
[Meme] Reporting Crimes to the Police, to the Public, to the Media
people who are committing crimes try to accuse those who expose them as the "real" criminals
Microsoft Has Already Lost the Cash Cow in Jamaica
we're looking at around 7% for GNU/Linux
[Meme] Then They Call Their Volunteers 'Fascists' (or Even Worse Labels)
They want the public to think that people who resigned in protest were in fact "expelled" and that moreover they are "conservative" or something to that effect
Sven Luther & Debian forged expulsion after resignation, now with Wind River Software, DebConf24 platinum sponsor
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Pop Weekend in Schagen, Netherlands & Debian Day
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
IBM/Red Hat Racism and Imperialism: Not a New Problem
Especially in that region
In Cuba, Android Surges to New Records, Only About 3% of Web Users Are on Vista 11
only about 15% are traced back to Windows
Colombia: Windows Falls to All-Time Low (26%)
We might be looking at a community of over 1 million GNU/Linux users in that one country
Microsoft "are still in their Extend phase and have been for some time. They know how to play the long game. It's anyone's guess when their Extinguish phase will begin."
It's reassuring to see recognition of the threat
Links 10/07/2024: Microsoft Burns Users of Office 365 connectors in Teams
Links for the day
[Video/Audio] John Shipton's Speech at Julian Assange's (His Son's) Birthday Last Week
We assume someone who was at the event uploaded the recording of this speech (Julian Assange was not there)
In Brunei and Malaysia GNU/Linux Gains Some More, All-Time High Approached in Indonesia
Further gains in southeast Asia are more of the norm these days
[Meme] War is Peace and Antitrust Means Trust
Checking if Microsoft 'trusts' your OS is the same as security???
[Video] The Fake Security Complex (and Why You Should Not Trust Canonical)
"tech world" is full of fake security
Egypt (Population 115 Million) Climbing Towards 7% GNU/Linux Usage, Says statCounter
Egypt is one of Africa's largest populations
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 09, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, July 09, 2024
Debian harassment: verbal and textual references to abuse every bit as bad as deepfake and AI generated images of women
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Six Percent of Maharlika
Microsoft has not been getting good news there in recent years
[Meme] When You Do Mass Layoffs in the United States a Day Before July 4th (Independence Day)
Microsoft still hasn't said how many people it fired