Linux Developers Yawn at LG-type Deals with Microsoft

Posted in Deals, FUD, Fuji Xerox, GNU/Linux, LG, Microsoft, Patent Covenant, Patents, Samsung at 8:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we saw another attempt to instill and spread fear throughout the embedded Linux industry. This happens to be an industry where Linux is expected to become very dominant and even reign (as seen in HPC), if it does not already approach that status. Let us remember that, among other factors, Microsoft signed a deal with companies such as Samsung and LG in order to scare developers (and mind you, there was no explicit disclosure of patent numbers, let alone a number of patents).

Fortunately, the world which revolves around embedded Linux yawns and continues to ignore the FUD. It’s safe to say this based on a recent survey. The polling process took place around the time other such deals were made.

As a result, patent worries are down among Linux users over the last three years. LinuxDevices.com’s latest reader survey, published earlier this month, suggested that only about 22 percent of embedded Linux developers take patent concerns seriously, down from 33 percent two years ago.

No only is this fear unfounded, but it also appears to be on a sharp decline. Linux continues to thrive in the mobile-, embedded-, and devices-oriented area. Only yesterday, for instance, the following three announcements were made:

Intel shows more advanced ultraportable

Instead of Windows, the MIMD uses Midinux, a Linux operating system for mobile devices from China’s Red Flag Linux.

And these ones:

Pepper Computer Announces Pepper Linux Support for Intel-Based Mobile Internet Devices

Pepper Computer, Inc. today announced Pepper Linux support for Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) based on Intel low-power processors and chipsets.

Canonical refines mobile Ubuntu Linux

“Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded edition is expected to deliver fast boot and resume times, and reside in a small memory and disk footprint,” Canonical said in a statement.

These are just 3 among several new Linux devices/ports that are being introduced in a single day. LinuxDevices.com boasts about half a dozen a day.

The LG deal was probably irrelevant in the sense that it does not appear to scare anybody. Developers move on while media chooses a sensationalist tone to create the illusion that a difference was made.

Will we be seeing more Linux devices than ever before? You bet. Here’s a new video of one (Palm Foleo).

Novell the First to Join and Empower the Fear Mongering Campaign™

Posted in Boycott Novell, Deals, FUD, Microsoft, Novell at 8:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ECT features a new article which says very clearly that Microsoft’s strategy is to create and use unfounded fear against a rival they are unable to compete with.

Microsoft’s business strategy is the equivalent of “don’t buy his products or something bad will happen — but we won’t tell you what.” In other words, it shows less sophistication than the average playground ruse. Nevertheless, it was enough for Novell — responsible for the popular Suse distribution of Linux — to enter last year into a mutual covenant not to sue over patent infringements.

Novell, quite sadly, was either a victim of fear, selfishness, greed, or a combination thereof. Allow me to explain. Those who are supposed to fear are not just Linux vendors, but also companies that use Linux. Selfishly enough, by Novell’s own admission, Novell decided to enter the fear mongering club and cash in on uncertainty they themselves created, along with Microsoft. This means that not genuine fear of lawsuits was Novell’s reason to enter the deal; rather, it was the ability to exploit fear.

Greed relates to the monetary award they received (over $0.3 billion). Think of it as a compensation plan sponsored by Microsoft’s anti-Linux agenda. That in its own right justifies resentment that makes Groklaw’s headline “Novell sells out” seem very accurate. LXer has more to say about the recent series of deals, which are intended to achieve nothing but to create uncertainty in the market.

What does Microsoft get out of the deals? They get to shamelessly accuse our community of wrongdoing without ever having to prove it in court. They get to advertise that they are working to enforce their patents – you know, the ones that should never have been granted to begin with. They will likely even use the deals to claim all manner of “victories” over our community.

No Patents in Linux

The Patent Reform May Have Begun, GPL Explained

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL, Novell, Patents at 7:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are several news items that stand out today. The first one speaks about changes which are made to the patent application process. Sadly, this does not seem to address existing patents, many of which can be eliminated based on the “trivial” criterion, or even prior art.

The one-year community review project will give outside experts in computer technology the opportunity to submit technical references relevant to the claims of a published patent application before an examiner reviews it, according to the PTO.

Two more noteworthy items speak about the GPL, its purpose, and its effect on Novell. The GNU and FSF News for June 2007 explains why the Microsoft-Novell plan may backfire.

For this to happen a Microsoft distributed Novell SLES coupon has to be used after at least one program licensed with the GPLv3 is included in the Novell SLES distro. So far Novell says they will include GPLv3 software in SLES. Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to realize their mistake.

TuxDeluxe publishes an item on the importance of the values which the GPL embodies, and why they should be preserved in order for Utopian Free software to survive.

The central thesis of the GPL is that you can do anything you like with the software, except claim ownership, or authorship, of its contents. And that’s about it.

A lot of people attempt to sling mud at the licence. This comes from different directions and sometimes from lobbyists, too. Be careful and check whose voice you listen to.

GPLv2 and v3 To Gain Compatibility?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GPL, Novell, Rumour at 9:46 am by Shane Coyle

I don’t know about this one, but it seems that Black Duck software CEO Doug Levin believes that GPLv2-v3 compatibility will happen [link fixed], despite Richard M. Stallman’s ongoing statements concerning the incompatibility of the two license versions.

He saved the best bit for last. That is, the pending incompatibility of Versions 2 and 3 of the GPL, as revealed in the “last call” license draft distributed at the end of May.

Levin thinks it will be fixed. “It was assumed the compatibility issue would be dealt with last.” Levin is flying back home Friday to check on that prediction, and go to the Red Sox game. World travelers have their priorities.

And we all thought that the Apache compatibility was the final improvement. This, if true, just goes to show all observers that there very well may be some additional changes after the last call draft of May 31.

Novell, maybe it’s too soon to crow about being in the clear, if you even are. Wait until it’s finalized.

LG: Another Cross Licensing Deal with Microsoft Includes “Linux-based Embedded Devices”

Posted in Boycott Novell, Fuji Xerox, GNU/Linux, LG, Microsoft, Patent Covenant, Patents, Samsung at 6:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

After the deal with Fuji-Xerox and Samsung, Microsoft seems to have found another victim, with which it claims to have swapped patents, including Linux-related ones.

There is not much to see here because the previous deals with Fuji-Xerox and Samsung are similar (wording varies however). There is little to be worried about, but small companies that use embedded Linux ought to put an end to coverages such as this, which remain non-specific. Why would Linux require coverage? What Microsoft patents does Linux infringe on? Not a word from Microsoft. Recall deals where companies got betrayed or overcharged because patents simply remained hidden. In any event, here is the obnoxious part of news:

Under the agreement, LG will be able to use Microsoft-patented technology in its products, including Linux-based embedded devices.

To eliminate the path of destruction, one ought to force Microsoft to show its hands. Better sooner than later.

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