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Microsoft Can Use Azure and SUSE to Put a Patent Tax on GNU/Linux

Summary: Microsoft uses Azure to gain control over GNU/Linux, or at least the way it is deployed by those who need it

WHENEVER Microsoft becomes the loser, it then tries extremely hard to embrace (and extend) the winner. There are many examples of this throughout the recent history of computers (Java and the Web, to name just a couple).



OpenSUSE/SUSE is an example of Microsoft's embrace of GNU/Linux -- an embrace so detrimental that we called for a Novell boycott over 5 years ago. While there are harmless/benign elements in it, the most damaging element of this embrace and extend/control trick is patent tax. There are some other players that help Microsoft approach a position of control inside FOSS (this is a new press release). To quote, "OpenLogic aggregated data on customers purchasing support contracts from OpenLogic for each project, as well as projects that users deployed through OpenLogic CloudSwing, an open PaaS platform."

OpenLogic is run by former Microsoft management, so its announcements should be taken with a grain of salt. Perhaps the biggest bit of Linux news as of late was another Microsoft "embrace" of Linux. SJVN is not really reporting what this means to GNU/Linux vendors and what Microsoft is trying to achieve here. Taxing Linux through Microsoft Azure might be the idea:

Here’s the reality: Microsoft is preparing to enable Linux to run on Windows Azure. But it doesn’t sound like Microsoft will officially offer “support” for Linux on Windows Azure. That’s where SUSE could potentially be an ideal Microsoft partner.

Microsoft and SUSE have a longstanding Windows-Linux integration relationship. Some conspiracy theorists in the open source market dismiss the Microsoft-SUSE relationship as harmful. But I think channel partners and CIOs have genuinely benefited from the Microsoft-SUSE work.


Microsoft might try to claim that SUSE "works best" with Windows and regardless of the distribution Microsoft will charge patent toll. Embrace and extend:

Despite the IT cognoscenti’s hankering to variously deride and dismiss Microsoft’s efforts into open source over the years, the company has (at times) produced some tangible advancements in the open computing arena - such as those seen during the Microsoft and Novell interoperability years, to name but one example.


That was a patent deal, allowing Microsoft to tax GNU/Linux indirectly, through Novell, which is dead now despite the continued Novelldemo uploads [1, 2]. SUSE is like a department of Microsoft now.

We can always hope that OpenSUSE volunteers will find other distributions to contribute to, but for the time being there are still volunteers there. Not many, but there it goes:

After the openSUSE 2011 Conference, we run a survey to gather feedback so that we can improve for the next conference. The overall feedback was very positive. Thanks a lot to the 134 people that participated in the survey!


134 people? That's almost abysmal. SUSE loses in a major way and this must be bad news to Microsoft. SUSE is the last distribution that Microsoft has got left under its control. Let's not give Microsoft the "embrace" it craves for the infamous "extinguish" phase.

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