08.11.08

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Richard Stallman Saw Microsoft’s Plans Against GNU/Linux Back in 2004

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Interview, Videos at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following interview from Digital Tipping Point is a quite fascinating. Towards its end and a couple of minutes after the beginning, Stallman mentions that the Linux kernel, which makes up about 0.25% of the GNU/Linux system according to him, was found to have been covered by 286 different US patents. It is not necessarily news that there was such a study, but watch this video.

Ogg Theora

Non-Ogg versions are here.

According to Richard Stallman (back in 2004), Microsoft wanted to be using software patents and it was filing for (or granted) several patents per week with the aim of destroying competition like GNU/Linux. As he points out, documents showed that they intend to use software patents against GNU/Linux. That was in 2004.

Not too shabby for a company that violates not only patents but copyrights too.

Microsoft Austria has collected the top prize in the Community category of the Austrian Big Brother Awards. The prize, a tacky looking robot thing which can be viewed here, was given for the company’s activities in spamming Austrian Linux users with questionnaires. Microsoft Austria recruited G3 GMBH to handle the mailing. This outfit seems to have helped itself to the email addresses of Austrian users registered with the Linux Counter and then sent them the questionnaire, which asked about their views on the software industry, about Linux, and about their employment. This was in breach of the Linux Counter’s copyright and terms of use, which specifically bar use of the data for mass mailings.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Microsoft is filing for software patents more than ever before. That may be the plan.

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2 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    August 11, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Gravatar

    Richard Stallman probably understood the issue of software patents back in the 1980′s, just as soon as the US recognized them. It is clear that M$ has been using them from at least 1999 when Bill Gates penned his infamous ACPI memo:

    One thing I find myself wondering about is whether we shouldn’t try and make the “ACPI” extensions somehow Windows specific. …. Maybe we could define [things] so that they work well with NT and not the others even if they are open. Or maybe we could patent something related to this.

    Clearly, he wanted to use any method possible to keep free software from working well with commodity hardware. His disdain for the work of others comes out when he calls reverse engineering efforts, “nothing” and seeks to make everything else unusable by denying key parts of hardware.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Gravatar

    There’s a copy of that E-mail from Gates here. The links above does not work.

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