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Microsoft Interested In More Linux Deals

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the of-course-it-is dept.

256

eldavojohn writes "Microsoft has announced that it would be open to more deals similar to the one it just made with Novell. 'We will love to put that kind of agreement in place with anyone who distributes Linux software, Red Hat, whoever else,' Steve Ballmer told India's Economic Times. Considering the recent reactions to the Microsoft Novell deal, it would be interesting to see who else takes them up on the offer. Novell is due to receive USD $348 million in up-front payments. Will Red Hat cash out on this offer if it feels the impending pressure from Oracle's Linux? Will non-profit Linux distributions attempt to make deals with Microsoft?"

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256 comments

Way too obvious (5, Insightful)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794304)

"We will love to put that kind of agreement in place with anyone [everyone] who distributes Linux software, Red Hat, whoever [everyone] else," Steve Ballmer told India's Economic Times.

Way too obvious.

"Mr Ballmer, on a visit to India, said that while he believed software would be increasingly downloaded and managed off the internet,"

As in apt-get?

""I would say we are moving to a world where there is a lot more electronic distribution. It is a new style of software, not the old-style distributed electronically.""

He's obviously not taking his meds - as in the 'raise my IQ above that of a carot' pill he must need each morning to get out the door.

"The next frontier for us is to embrace a new business model. And if we embrace it well and that business model is subscription and advertising,"

Curious that he left out 'make good software' and 'support'...

Re:Way too obvious (1)

ztransform (929641) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794386)

One word: DRM

Re:Way too obvious (2, Funny)

SultanCemil (722533) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794422)

You know, first posts are definitely a dying art. Whatever happened to someone just scribbling down "frist psot" and hitting submit? Where are the GNAA activists? The parent poster actually put together a coherent, rational post *relating* to the article (hell, he even quotes from it).

Can someone explain to him the way things work around here - a misspelled rant about Natalie Portman and some grits would have gone a lot further, thats all I can say.

Re:Way too obvious (3, Funny)

El Torico (732160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794802)

He must be new... oh, wait.

Re:Way too obvious (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794756)

He's obviously not taking his meds - as in the 'raise my IQ above that of a carot' pill he must need each morning to get out the door.

For the last time, Senator Kerry -- if you're going to make "OMFG hes so teh stupid!" jokes, you need to be able to, say, spell "carrot" correctly.

Re:Way too obvious (0, Flamebait)

bberens (965711) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794796)

Microsoft and Apple are both marketing companies which hock average products mostly produced by outside labor. They slap on some shiny, do a little integration, and make $Billions. Microsoft is not a software company, its a software integrator and marketing firm. There's a difference. The advertising business model is a great fit for Microsoft. They will have some growing pains as the try to get into marketing in new markets (doesn't that sound weird to say), but I think they will do well. 99% of general use software is going to be a commodity in the very near future. What will make it worth money is shiny, integration, and marketing.

Re:Way too obvious (2, Interesting)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794878)

Your stretching it a bit by belittling Apple. They and NeXT did the impossible - they made Unix really, really usable. I speak as someone who bought a Mac intending to stick NetBSD or Yellow Dog Linux on it, only to end up sticking to OS X because I find it so easy to live with.

Re:Way too obvious (4, Interesting)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794972)

"We will love to put that kind of agreement in place with anyone [everyone] who distributes Linux software, Red Hat, whoever [everyone] else," Steve Ballmer told India's Economic Times.
Linux, being free (speech, beer) can't be bought and buried, so the traditional corporate stragegy of buying and dismantling a competitor won't work. And you just *know* that it drives them crazy in Redmond! They're sitting on mountain of cash and it won't help them a bit. It's the worst possible outcome -- they must compete!

Re:Way too obvious (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795092)

Curious that he left out 'make good software' and 'support'...

That's because anybody with even the tiniest modicum of business sense realizes that not only does that business model not work, but part of the definition of "good software" is not needing support.

Well, I guess Microsoft Gets It Now (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794306)

If you can't fight 'em, join 'em. (and then, find a chance to backstab 'em)

Re:Well, I guess Microsoft Gets It Now (5, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794366)

Microsoft has always "gotten it".

When competition becomes serious, "embrace and extend." This is exactly what MS's outlandish purchases in the 90s were about, and it seems they just forgot about it for a while (and were probably concerned about antitrust).

Meet the new Microsoft... same as the old Microsoft.

Re:Well, I guess Microsoft Gets It Now (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794750)

I doubt it. If they got it, then they would GPL therir software and release their patents so they could be more effective as a service based industry instead of a control based one. What they get is the use of DRM to control content, I haven't herd anyone at Microsoft repudiate that intellectual property is their "crown jewels" as they call them.

You see information is so easy to copy and modify that in a DRM world you can't have some content systems that are restricted and others that are not, otherwise all the people will migrate to the non restricted ones. Even if Linux remains free, they still must get Linux into the DRM space in order to persue their dream of leveraging content controls on every system. Information doesn't act like normal physical property, so their strategy is to use DRM to force it and then try to monopolize that market accordingly. They are probably trying to provide for a migration path for the Linux market when the DRM regulatory hammer (laws that they bought) come down.

Re:Well, I guess Microsoft Gets It Now (1)

curmudgeous (710771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795120)

My biggest fear from all this is that any OS developer working with an MS developer is going to leave himself/herself open to accusations of patent infringement just from close proximity to MS code. Even the threat that Joe OS Coder could have peeked over Fred MS Coder's shoulder puts the OS world in jeopardy.

348 million buys a lot of Porsches (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794352)

Or is it Porshi? Porschii?

Re:348 million buys a lot of Porsches (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794412)

Badanalogii guy? :)

Re:348 million buys a lot of Porsches (1)

imroy (755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794478)

porschen

you can have my linux (2, Funny)

darth_linux (778182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794358)

when you pry it from my cold, dead harddrive.

Re:you can have my linux (1)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794468)

Yeah, but most people will say:

You can have my linux when you deposit that hundred million dollar check in my bank account.

If I were Redhat I would sell out for half a billion dollars and then jump onto a BSD project and restart your business.

Re:you can have my linux (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794760)

I have a Deskstar, you insensitive clod!

When? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794370)

When did Slashdot get threaded comment pages?! This is way better than Digg!

Three words... (-1, Redundant)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794376)

Embrace and extinguish.

New busines plan (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794426)

1-Create your own Linux distro
2-Let M$ buy your soul
3-Profit
4-???

/me (1)

lpcustom (579886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794532)

starts compiling LFS for his new Po-Mans Linux Christmas release!

Microsoft still doesn't 'get' it (2, Insightful)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794450)

They can't just strike deals with everonye that distributes linux and add their 'touch' to it. You can't 'buy' Linux. You can have all the companies in your pocket that you want, but at the end of the day, it's still going to be free and maintained by developers from all over.

Re:Microsoft still doesn't 'get' it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794668)

True... But wouldnt you like to be sure that a company cant sue and shutdown your project over patents?

Re:Microsoft still doesn't 'get' it (2, Insightful)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795014)

Oh absoultley, from Novell's perspective it is a good deal. But Microsoft isn't exactly known for their good-natured business. If Microsoft throws 350 Million dollars at something, there is more than likely an alterior motive, it isn't just an investment in Linux. Microsoft sees Linux as a problem, and always has, they want it to go away. This hasn't changed.

Re:Microsoft still doesn't 'get' it (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795182)

They can't just strike deals with everonye that distributes linux and add their 'touch' to it. You can't 'buy' Linux. You can have all the companies in your pocket that you want, but at the end of the day, it's still going to be free and maintained by developers from all over.


Right. But unfortunately, I don't have Linus Tovalds' or Alan Cox's phone number to call up for tech support. Nor can I sue them when their code breaks costing me millions.

Buy up all the companies doing 'supported' Linux and there will be no supported Linux.

You don't get it (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795184)

I love it when individuals think that they're smarter than all of the individuals in one of the smartest run companies on the planet...

it's still going to be free and maintained by developers from all over.

That's all well and good, but up to this point, "developers from all over" still haven't been able to put together a product that people will take for free. MS isn't going to "buy" anything. They're going to streamline and clean up SUSE and other products, to make them much more useable by people working in mixed platform environments. The "developers from all over" can keep doing their thing. It's just that most Linux users in 5 years won't be using their version (it's easy to change your screen resolution... just open a terminal, type 'blah, blah')... they'll be paying for MS's version with all of the bells and whistles that people expect from a modern OS (it's easy to change your screen resolution... click the button that says 'screen resolution').

On the whole, I support the deal... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794456)

You know what, I am a nobody in the Linux world, but I support the deal. I have read what I think are the terms and have found that they not that bad.

We'll be able to get SuSE Linux as we're getting the OS now. The difference is that the "threat" of suits will not be hanging on users of SuSE. This is not bad at all in my opinion.One thing I am sure of is that we will be able to play MS media files and use OpenOffice.org without fearing that a suit might be coming anytime.

Now, can any slashdoter tell me why this deal is really bad and should be avoided?

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794544)

Sure. What if you are using a Linux distro that (gasp!) is not Suse and get sued by MS? Any other questions? By the way, what made you think that using OpenOffice could get you sued?

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794736)

Some random patents you don't know about, owned by MS Office.
If OpenOffice violates one of them, you could be sued.

It's FUD but it's remotely possible.

Then again what does "What if you are using a Linux distro that (gasp!) is not Suse and get sued by MS?" mean ?

There is an agreement between Suse and MS, if you value the protection offered by the agreement use Suse. Otherwise use what you want.

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794594)

Simple.

Is Microsoft not 'backing' SCO, in their lawsuit against IBM???

Wanna explain the inconsistency between supporting BULLSHIT litigation against the codebase, and their sudden open arms frenzy with Linux???

Microsoft's playing both sides right now, and my guess, is that they know in the end the SCO case will fail, so why not start being friendly to the Linux community now.

Is that better?

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794672)

I don't, and precedent is why. After the end of the tenure of the deal with M$ and Novell, Microsoft will be able to demand real money from them. Why? Because Novell licensed something from M$ and that sets a precedent that it needed to be licensed in the first place. M$ can sue them into oblivion later if they refuse to comply because Novell has agreed that there is something to license now.

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794704)

This can bite the other way too. In other words, substitute Novell for M$ and vice versa.

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794838)

Wow, and just think; every two-bit poster on Slashdot can see this but it hasn't occurred for one second to Novell. Nope. They'll blindly stumble through the next five years happily deploying MS patented code and then simply be staggered when the licence runs out and Microsoft come back for more. "D'oh!", they'll say. "All these years in the software industry and we didn't see this coming!"

Or just maybe Novell know what they're doing. You may not agree with what they're doing, but you're being very foolish if you believe that they haven't thought what happens when the licencing ends.

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16795022)

I would more worry about SuSe Developers not longer being "clean". Can a Suse developer who has access to proprietary MS technology still work on any related OSS projects. I haven't read (and probably wouldn't understand) all of the details of the deal but it would seam to me that if you have seen, for example, the actualy MS SMB/CIFS code that you would be bared from working on SAMBA. I don't know if this is the case I don't even know what kind of tech MS is licensing to Novel just a thought.

Another thought. Doesn't Novel own (or at least claim to own) some of the original Unix code and copyrights that SCO is basing their lawsuit on.

Then again Novel has had the crap kicked out of them by Microsoft more times than just about any other company that has survived so if anyone knows how dangerous MS can be it would be Novel. Presumably they were very careful before entering into this agreement.

WordPerfect (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795096)

Novell still has an ace up its sleeve with the WordPerfect antitrust suit they can use to keep MS Lawyers at bay.

Re:On the whole, you sound like a fool... (2, Insightful)

Filter (6719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794830)

To me you sound like a fool, anyone else could threaten to sue users of SuSE for "IP" related issues, any one else could actually sue users for "IP" related issues, neither of which would be proof of "IP" related issues really existing. If there really is "IP" related issues in Linux, MS should spell them out, Novell at least should spell them out.

For you to "support" this deal because the terms are "not that bad" sounds foolish. Do you think this is a reasonable way for a company to do business, trying to sell their product not on the merits of the product itself or the service of the vendor but on some vague "promise" that a contracted partner of ours will not sue you if you pay us? What if I make up some similar promise; "My brother tells me that he will not sue you for some vague reason as long as you pay me, and you agree not to act in a way vaguely defined by him."

Hope those terms don't sound too bad for you.

I am willing to make similar deals with any others if that is the case.

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (5, Insightful)

Otter Escaping North (945051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794870)

Now, can any slashdoter tell me why this deal is really bad and should be avoided?

I'm not saying either of those things - but I don't have the warm and fuzzies over this. Why? Because there is no immediate answer to the most obvious question; What does Microsoft believe they are getting for their 348 million dollars?

I mean - they ponied up a third of a bill so that you'd be protected from lawsuits...from them. Wouldn't it have been cheaper to - say - not sue? I'd have to double-check my figures; but I'm pretty sure that will cost you nothing.

They're getting something out of this (or at least they believe they are), and if you've directly benefited, then it's reasonable to believe that it's costing you something as well (TNSTAAFL).

Maybe it's a good trade, maybe not, but Microsoft has earned a certain reputation among this audience.

Time, and the trust of Linux users other than myself, will tell.

Mod parent up! (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794944)

Microsoft talks about "interoperability" with Linux ... but the source code is Open. They don't need Novell to help them with that.

And certainly not at a third of a billion dollars for that "help".

What, specifically, is being purchased?

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (1)

The Man (684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794934)

Perhaps because threatening someone to make you pay them is a crime? It's called extortion. In the absence of any solid evidence that Novell bought a license to use some specific code owned by Microsoft, or to implement specific Microsoft-patented technologies, that's all this "agreement" is. A goon walked up to your brother and threatened to break his legs unless he gave the goon $100. Your brother "agreed" to give the goon $100 in exchange for not doing something the goon couldn't legally do in the first place, and the goon said "well, all right then - I'll be back here next week and we'll do this again." And you're asking why the deal should be avoided? If Novell wants its customers to feel confident of their rights to their software (and, conversely, if they want their competitors' customers to feel uneasy about theirs), they should make public exactly what they licensed from Microsoft and how the license applies to their open source products. There's no sensible business reason not to do this, so the only conclusions are (a) they licensed something they need to make some new product they're not currently shipping, (b) they fell prey to extortion, or (c) they're trying to create FUD around their competitors' offerings. Because if there's nothing owned by Microsoft in the products they're shipping today, how does this "licensing" deal actually help any of Novell's customers any more than a "licensing" deal with Milkman Dan or the bum who panhandles you on your way to work? And if there is, why hasn't Microsoft filed suit? They would get a whole lot more money - not just from Novell - with a judge having looked at the evidence and strongly advising the parties to reach a settlement. Microsoft's never been concerned with optics, so if their rights really were being infringed, they'd have done this by now. There's just too much here that doesn't make sense from either side for this to be a legitimate money-for-rights deal. One way or another, one or both companies are trying to deceive customers into giving them more money than they deserve.

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (1)

Hausenwulf (956554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794940)

Really bad for who?

Microsoft? No, it just cost Microsoft some chump change for more FUD and a chance to destroy every commercial linux effort.

Novell? Definately. Remember that this covenant is supposed to be with SUSE users and not Novell. What's to keep Microsoft from suing Novell after the dust clears? Nothing ("Microsoft commits to a covenant not to assert its patents against Novell's end-user customers").

Novell's customers? Yes and no. It's good right up to the point that Microsoft decides it's no longer convenient to prop up Novell.

Re:On the whole, I support the deal... (1)

und0 (928711) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794968)

Mmh, yeah, the terms aren't so bad... for Steve. According to SFLC's Bradley Kuhn, the pledge is revocable at any time: http://www.softwarefreedom.org/news/20061109a.html [softwarefreedom.org]

So if I understand correctly (0)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794458)

1. Microsoft conned Novell or Novell conned its users with the help of Microsoft.
2. Microsoft says "bring it on! let's have more of these deals!"
3. Slashdotter bitches about the bias on slashdot and wonders why some people call Microsoft M$ or unethical or a monopoly or E^3.

Re:So if I understand correctly (2, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794900)

Can you explain the Novell deal to me? How does it hurt their customers?

I'm honestly curious. I've only heard that Novell would be supporting Microsoft virtualization under Linux as a result.

Re:So if I understand correctly (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795002)

I'm not sure it does. And the little rant posted my Petreley [slashdot.org] doesn't do this situation any good. Suse will still be Suse. It will still be released under the GPL. From what I can attain from what I've read, it seems that this should be able to make hybrid network systems easier to maintain and set Suse as a standard in the enterprise.

Typo in the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794470)

Will Red Hat cash out on this offer

You misspelled "sell".

Re:Typo in the summary (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794748)

Sell out is damn right! You can't put a pricetag on loyalty. The reason why linux is where it is today.... is because at least 1 company (cough... redhat) didn't sell out during the 90s.

Re:Typo in the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16795174)

The best comic relief I have had in a long time is the past few days as I watch the /. zealots tout their superior knowledge of business and who apparently have clairvoyance to see the true motivations for this deal between Novell and Microsoft.

Gee, if only ALL of us could be as wise as you.

Perhaps Microsoft does not have some ugly, goatee twisting motive for this deal. Perhaps they simply want to tap into a surging market...note I said "tap into" not "destroy". Could this deal eventually foster a native Linux version of Office? Perhaps. Native gaming on Linux as good as Windows? Maybe.

But, then again, I am a nobody. I'm not smart enough to know what I am talking about, unlike all of you wise sages.

WE ARE THE BORG. (-1, Redundant)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794472)

YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED.

Above is usually flamage but today is freakishly on-topic.

At last a chance for Open Source (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794474)

At last, a chance for those that love open source to prove how successful their development model is. Now quickly sign the deals with Microsoft and reap the benefits of your hard work. Congratulations on the share the source code model.

Cringley calls shenanigans (4, Informative)

IcyHando'Death (239387) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794486)

Cringely's latest column (http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2006/pulpit_20 061110_001188.html [pbs.org] ) is all about the Microsoft/Novell deal and Balmer's statement re other deals. He thinks Balmer's statement is deliberate deception to sow discord in the Linux space

Re:Cringley calls shenanigans (0)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794776)

"Cringely...thinks Balmer's statement is deliberate deception to sow discord in the Linux space"

Yeah, well he would. You don't think it's about Microsoft trying to make more money or anything, do you? I don't think Microsoft would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to "sow discord" anywhere.

Doesn't matter. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794996)

So what if Balmer is sowing discord?

All Novell has to do is be up front and specific in what what purchased, why and how it directly affects their business and end users and other Linux users.

Since Novell does not seem to be willing to do that ...

The more the merrier (1)

JYDBPD (1025550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794496)

The Microsoft/Novell partnership shows that the free market is alive and well in the software industry. This is one Linux user that is excited by the partnership and looking forward to more deals like this by Microsoft because in the end it is the users who benefit.

Astroturf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794780)

This is this guys very first post... You do the math.

I too look to the future (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795040)

And look forward to running Flying Chair Linux...

Typicial Indian newspaper quote (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794504)

'We will love to put that kind of agreement in place ..."
Sorry, but that's not how American English is spoken, so I really doubt it's a verifiable quote. This isn't meant to be a troll.

Ballmer most likely said "We would like to put that kind of aggreement in place..."

Again, not a troll, but I've seen that kind of "quote" in Indian English papers fairly often.

Ah yeah (3, Insightful)

jackjeff (955699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794512)

So Microsoft gives money to NOVEL. In exchange NOVEL can tell its customers hey look, not only you have the right to use that (as before), but now also we can assure you that Microsoft won't sue you (never been done anyway).... ah great. I was sure they would never sue me before any way, there's no such broken e-patent where I live. Or maybe next time I fly over to the US, the DHS will arrest me?

So what? Microsoft wants to give the deal to everyone.. ; hey i want to destribute my own distribution. Can I have a few milliion dollars too Steve? Just to make sure you won't sue me.... anyway, considered I have only $2000 in my bank account, even if you sued me, I would not even be able to cover your legal fee no?

Mmmm.. now i'm trembling. In a few seconds, I will click on a button at a bottom of this page and I will send that to slashdot... and crap, Amazon has patented the one click... Microsoft the click which does different thing if you click for a long or short time.. Ah crap. Maybe using my penis instead of a mouse is not patented, who knows.

"Old news!" Not for people who use MS... (3, Interesting)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794514)

There are a few comments here where people say "old news. apt-get. etc" While this style of distribution may be old news, it's not something people outside our community are aware of. Even if you hate MS, it's hard to deny how much research is done there. Somewhere around 1/4 of all computer graphics research is done there and they release papers for it too. Who knows what will come from them trying methods we hold dear. It could be good. If it's bad, then we don't have to care about their work.

Information is information regardless of where it comes from. What I'd really like to see is MS learning a lot from Linux distros and then incorporates things I happen to love about linux and oss into the system my employer forces me to use (so I can read spreadsheets... ugh). It would make my working life more fun.

The MS strategy here seems obvious to me. They bring a bunch of open source groups under their roof. The open source people who make money help MS make money as time goes by through support (not sure why MS is paying so much in advance, to be honest). The open source people embrace things like mono which work for any language (eventually) and on any system (mono). MS knows the uber geeks will probably still use Linux or Bsd or whatever, but they now can bring a LOT more open source software into the windows world. Beagle is a neat tool. Tomboy is neat. Are they neat enough for my mom to use on her windows computer? Possibly. MS could modify it and then redistribute, couldn't they? I think the gateway between free apps that are neat and their money making os is simply being opened.

If our software really is so much better, then what do we have to be afraid of. The software is GPL'd which means we're safe from anyone taking it away from us...

Re:"Old news!" Not for people who use MS... (1, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795102)

I tend to agree. MS has already witnessed what BSD's code could do for Apple with OS X, and they're probably concerned, deep down, that maybe their proprietary OS core really isn't ever going to pan out as the best solution. (EG. They rewrote their whole TCP/IP stack from scratch for Vista, supposedly. Who knows what bugs will be exploited there in the years to come, or how long it will take to reach "maturity", where it's comparably as solid as the one used by free Unix OS's?)

If they buy some friends in the Linux community, they can start implementing their code without looking like they "lost" to the competition.

Furthermore, at least in Novell's case, you're talking about a company that was a huge thorn in MS's side for YEARS. Novell had an enterprise-level product that MS couldn't match ... a dedicated file/print server that was rock-solid reliable. The eventual migration of Novell to Linux as the base of their product finally opened the door for MS to partner up with them or buy "influence" in them. That has to be worth *some* money to MS, just for the sake of "tying up loose ends".

Re:"Old news!" Not for people who use MS... (2, Interesting)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795198)

To take it a little further, Miguel has said many times he'd like to move all of gnome to mono. If that actually happened, you should be able to run gnome on windows. Then any compiz work going on is also windows work... Not sure how realistic this scenario is, but it certainly would be interesting! There's just to much to gain from sharing and I think MS is in a good position to make most of the money from it...

Sure they are! (2, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794528)

The same way a humpback whale is interested in plankton.

Do No Evil? (4, Funny)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794540)

FTA: "People point to Google because Google is the emblem for somebody who has embraced a different business model than we have," he said.

I'm guessing that that would be the "Do No Evil" part, Mr. Ballmer?

This could turn out to be a good thing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794542)

[dons flameproof undies]
I think if you have microsofted Linuxes, then you'll have the purists jumping ship wholesale, consolidating with other distros. What doesn't kill Linux only makes Ubuntu stronger, as they say.

I'm really not worried. I won't be using Novell/Suse. I was hoping for Novell to crush MS like MS crushed Novell with NT. That's a giant monster battle over the city of Tokyo worth watching, if you ask me. But now they're partners, like Mothra and Godzilla, or whoever that was that teamed up. And they're going to have to fight King Kong, which is totally inconsistent conceptually, because King Kong doesn't have special powers. And in this case, King Kong is obviously Apple, except Apple has special powers.

Back to my main point: There are tons of wonderful distros that will not go over to the dark side for a while, like Arch, Debian, Slackware, Ubuntu, etc. The worst that will happen if MS eats both Novell/Suse and Red Hat is no more big RPM-based distros. And is that a bad thing, really?

I mean, I will pee myself when Microsoft starts touting the Red Hat Package Manager as something I should give a flying fuck about. Microsoft Windows Vista, now with dependency hell! (and for 10.99, Vi IMproved!)

Re:This could turn out to be a good thing (1)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795172)

The concern is that they are going after the distros that have the most corporate friendly images.

Yes, it won't kill linux.
But it will hurt linux's adoption in the corporate world, which trickles down to the end users.

So yes, no harm for me and you. But when you go to your IT director who has been sucking at the MS teat for a while, and say, lets go get RedHat, do you want him to laugh at you and ask you "Bob, are you happy working here?" or do you want him to say "Umm... thats a good idea, put together a plan and come back to me.

Microsoft is no fool. If they wanted linux tech, they would go after something like Ubuntu, or Debian, or Slackware. Any of the quite popular and stable distros would have made a better choice.

Re:This could turn out to be a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16795194)

Know what? You're a complete fucking idiot!

as elmer FUD would say ... (1)

for_usenet (550217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794610)

Be afwaid ... be vewy afwaid ...

Seriously - considering MS's past record with ex "partners" - I can't see why anyone else would want to "partner" with them .... Unless Novell wants to go the way of Corel very soon ...

Red Hat should go to the table (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794622)

Realistically Red Hat should at least go to the table with Microsoft, though presumably it will do so quietly behind the scenes. If nothing else it lets Red Hat get a much better idea of what Novell has signed on for and, through negotiations with Microsoft, a better idea of what Microsoft is willing to offer. Just testing the boundaries of what sorts of licensing and patent agreements Microsoft is willing to make could be very informative, and there's no compulsion for Red Hat to take the deal. It makes sense to at least find out what exactly is on offer.

What could be Microsoft's rationale? (2, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794624)

In the first articles I read on this, the idea I got was that people thought perhaps Microsoft set up this deal in order to legitimize the value of their patents so that they can later sue other distributors (and maybe users). The theory was that they'd be able to point to the deal where Novell paid them $40M for their patents and say "see, these are valuable, and the defendant is willfully infringing them, we deserve massive damages".

Upon further reflection, that doesn't make any sense to me. Unless he's a complete idiot, the defendant's attorney would just say "Your honor, Novell paid $40M to the plaintiff as part of a larger deal that was offered by the plaintiff and netted Novell $340M, after the $40M payment. Novell didn't pay for these patent licenses, the plaintiff paid Novell to take them specifically so that it could use that deal as evidence of their value. No, your honor, the plaintiff has not established the value of these patents with that deal, if anything the plaintiff has established their lack of value".

I think what's really going on here is that Microsoft is trying to disarm the opposition.

See, the way big corporate patent battles often play out is that no money changes hands, because the defendant just points out all of their patents that the plaintiff is infringing. There are some big companies with big patent portfolios that have a vested interest in defending Linux. Novell and IBM are the biggest. I think that Microsoft is afraid to press its own patent claims because Novell and IBM might step in on the side of the defendant and offer to countersue for Microsoft infringement of Novell and IBM patents.

BUT, if Microsoft can pre-emptively create cross-licensing agreements with the big potential Linux defenders, that problem goes away and Microsoft is then free to unleash its patent portfolio on Linux.

I'm not too worried about Novell signing up, and I wouldn't even be too worried about Red Hat, since I don't think Red Hat has a lot of patents, but if Microsoft signs (or has already signed?) a big cross-licensing deal with IBM then I think there could be a very significant risk to Linux. I'm sure there are numerous patent cross-licensing deals in place between Microsoft and IBM because of their cooperative history in the past, but only they know whether or not those deals are sufficient to allow Microsoft to attack Linux with impunity.

Re:What could be Microsoft's rationale? (1)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795012)

I believe you hit the proverbial nail on the head.

This is not about sowing discord within the ranks, nor it is about making money (though they will). Microsoft has never wanted to get into the "FOSS" market because anything actions along those lines would legitimize the model (humourious when you consider that for years they have been publishing and sponsoring FUD about how it doesn't work, how it never makes money, etc...

Microsoft hires IBM's ex-main Patent Lawyer, who then bolsters MS's patatent portfolio by launching a series of patent purchases. Then all of a sudden, this little deal gets inked with the number 2 player in the Linux world (SuSE/Novell, who I suspect is in many ways similar to IBM back in the old days: We don't really believe in it, but we want money in case this goes well, so lets put something together).

Ummm.. and I think most of us know the history of that and how well that played out with who holding the marbles.

I think much of this goes into the notion that GPL is based on "free as in beer" model. (not a GPL expert so put down the flamethrowers) But if MS can somehow change that perception, they are in a very good position to bring the concept (eg: linux) to court and possibly win.

Granted, much of us are soured on the possibility that MS is doing some good by enbracing other technology. But when 90% of your moves are bad and results in the death of your competition/business "partners".. It would be foolish not to frisk them for weapons and don't eat the macaroons.

And besides, if you are indeed the 800lb gorrilla, even a "gentle" embrace can become deadly. So who's up for first hugs?

obvious mentality . . . (0, Redundant)

treak007 (985345) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794628)

obvious M$ mentality. . .why destroy only one when you can destroy all of them?

Target: Oracle??? (1)

Simon la Grue (1021753) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794630)

You know, I, like so many others, have been focusing on Linux being in the line of sights for MS and all of a sudden it hits me... if they really are open to other deals with other vendors, perhaps its Oracle who they're aiming for. Is the prize the RDBMS market? Could MS be bolstering all the other major Linux vendors to shut out Oracle?

Cheap money to scuttle/cherrypick linux (2, Insightful)

patmandu (247443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794632)

They've got competition, and in order to head that off, they'll pay now. Much cheaper to pay $$$ now instead of losing $$$$$ later...

Maybe the "itsatrap" tag DOES apply here... (1)

Keith Russell (4440) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794688)

For some reason, this old saying came to mind:

Once one pays Danegeld, one never gets rid of the Dane.

***WARNING*** (0)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794692)

They want to FORK us over. And you can bet that the nimrods who buy into the "Premium" Linux will not care one bit about those of us who use it simply because of both free speech and free beer...

Sounds like (1)

aevans (933829) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794708)

Microsoft knows they've got something to sue about.

No Comment (1)

Eagleartoo (849045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794724)

Microsoft is in the "software" business, and they're getting pissed because of the spread of opensource. Neal Stephenson [nealstephenson.com] has an interesting essay [cryptonomicon.com] on the subject of command line interface, linux, and what Gates and Jobs have spent their efforts doing in the computing world. Microsoft knows that it can no longer compete with a "collective" greater than their own, except in the capital arena. If we would like for computers to become less popular and for hardware prices to go up (because capitalism has certainly been driving many hardware advances) then we could just bankrupt Microsoft by creating an infinite number of distros =). Someone commented earlier on the smart pill that Ballmer has to take in the morning to just get by, and I think he's right, Microsoft may not lose their OS users and people who default to their software, but they can't just throw money at linux and make it go away. Sad to say, Microsoft is good for the little guy, even if their software is buggy and expensive. Who wants cheaper faster more reliable hardware?! raise your hand! Then we can all go frolic and fret and flee to LinuxLand. I hear a themepark!

Re:No Comment (1)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795036)

Don't forget, they played this game before with the Unix crowd. (during the days of NT 3/4). They said, oh yeah, we'll make nice with UNIX. Share some code, lets all get happy.. Its a good world. And the pillows were put away, and the knives were brought out. (anyone remember UNIX services for Windows?)

the frog and the scorpion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794726)

... in his dying breath the frog says to the scorpion
"why did you sting me? now we shall both die". The
scorpion replies, "because it is my nature".

Bring out your dead! (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794768)

LINUX: I'm not dead!

CUSTOMER: What?

MIRCOSOFT: Nothing. Here's your money.

LINUX: I'm not dead!

CUSTOMER: He says he's not dead!

MICROSOFT: Yes, he is.

LINUX: I'm not!

CUSTOMER: He isn't?

MICROSOFT: Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.

LINUX: I'm getting better!

MICROSOFT: No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.

A record, even for Microsoft (4, Interesting)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794842)

Wow.

The ink on the Novell-MS deal isn't even dry yet and Ballmer is publicly announcing his intention to violate it.

In case nobody noticed, one of the clauses is that Microsoft won't cut any similar deals with Linux companies for at least three years. It's barely three days and they're already trolling for more.

Microsoft's habits will die hard (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794850)

I've been looking at all of the threads here -- interesting points for and against what Microsoft is doing. For any other large dominant company I might look at this as an encouraging development that could help the Linux movement. But Microsoft's history and habits lead me to different conclusions, or at least instincts about their intent.

I could list the litany of Microsoft's trespasses, not the least of which includes their DOJ conviction and subsequent Consent Decree which Microsoft seems to only loosely honor. Buy I need only look to the very recent past to find typical strong-armed and bullying Microsoft behavior, specifically their introduction of Zune and its associated music store silo.

Microsoft brought big guns, and big players (Samsung, Creative, among others) to develop and create the portable music industry of "Plays for Sure". The idea was to have players and music compatible across a wide swath of hardware with a large musical repertoire for purchase.

But Microsoft has thumbed its nose at that effort and struck out on its own with an incompatible "other" way of doing music... heck it's even incompatible with the old Microsoft Music Store! What the heck?

So, while I can't predict or summon up the specifics of Microsoft's intentions to harm the Linux community and how Microsoft would do just that, but I sure have seen enough to be pretty sure their ultimate goal is to squash Linux, or make it completely theirs to the extent and extreme it no longer looks anything like the Linux of today.

I hope the other Linux distros can withstand the Microsoft juggernaut.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794880)

How this would affect the Novel/SCO/IBM lawsuits?

Maybe it's that old saying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794882)

Keep your friends close, keep your enemies even closer.

Linux on things other than PCs (0)

saintory (944644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794896)

It's obvious why you would want this sort of interaction between machines, but take a broader look. For example if the Nintendo Wii [wii.com] runs its non-game software on a linux core [arstechnica.com] and MS opens up to Linux, does that mean that now the homes the Wii permeate will also be able to (hypothetically) interact with Micosoft "channels?" What implications could this have on the industry outside of PCs?

It's a trick... (0, Troll)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794904)

Get an axe. (Ash - Army of Darkness.)

What about the usual MS 'embrace'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794910)

Embrace, extend, extinguish - somehow it strikes me that this is more a return of trusted old tactics. Novell gets $$ but becomes dependent. More $$ (the first shots are always free) until the hooks are in properly and presto - no more competition.

Just a thought..

Yawn (2, Interesting)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794926)

*Yawn*
Wake me up when they become partners with something like Debian

Confused. What does Microsoft get here? (1)

guidryp (702488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794930)

I am having a hard time getting what actual benefit Microsoft is actually receiving for its money.

They are paying a pile of money to no be sued by a Linux vendor???

In simple terms can someone explain:

1: What it is microsoft claims to be paying for? And the realistic tangible benefit.

2: Possible hidden benefits they get out of this?

Business as usual at MS: Customers lose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794992)

Ballmer does realize that there's nothing preventing patent holders doing exclusive indemnity deals with Windows resellers, right?

Doh, mind that chair!

What is MS's REAL plan? (1)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795004)

So I'm having a hard time figuring out what MS is really trying to accomplish with this deal with Novell et al. Off the top of my head, I see the following possibilities:

1. The truly want to Linux and produce a very of Linux with their 'touches' and make it free like all other versions. Basically, they give up on the whole competing with Linux and instead will transition to a FOSS based kernel with a for-pay MS GUI on top. Personally, I find this option the least likely.

2. They plan to sow FUD within the Linux community. "You are in bed with MS?!?!! Then we won't work with you any more! You get software updates last!". This could be possible and is an old war tactic. It is much easier to fight your enemies (Linux people) when they are fighting themselves.

3. They plan to inject just enough of their IP into the Linux world to take it over using the legal system. Hard to achieve, but they do have very deep pockets.

Anyone have any other evil plans that they could be cooking up?

Re:What is MS's REAL plan? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16795186)

Bascially, they plan to make what they've always _claimed_ to be reality an _actual_ reality:

They've always said that "commercial" development is impossible with open source. That's belied by the fact that many people, including myself, have been doing it for years. So Bill Gates, at the highest global levels (bilderberger group, EU Commission, with his buddy Charlie McGreevy) is pushing for software patents worldwide to CREATE THE REALITY HE WANTS: free-as-in-liberty software development relegated to "hobbyists and hippies".

New Headline - MS invests in cancer (2, Insightful)

gosand (234100) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795024)

Linux companies should tell MS to piss off. Of course, money talks.

Will you walk into my parlour? (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795076)

said the Spider to the Fly [love-poems.me.uk] .

Reminds me of something... (1)

UglyTool (768385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795094)

In 'The Simpsons', episode 5F11, Homer starts a business called 'Compuglobalhypermeganet'. Towards the end of the episode, Bill Gates comes to his house to 'buy out' the business. Thinking this would be his ticket to wealth, Homer agreed. Bill Gates' goons then proceed to destroy Homers fledgling business.

I think this could lead to a very similar situation, since we can be sure that Microsoft isn't looking to peddle an OS that isn't Windows.

I am not a Linux user (Mac OS X), but I think competition is necessary to innovation. Microsoft is not getting into Linux for any altruism, I think it's quite the opposite. This could lead to very bad things for the Open Source movement.

Your opinions are meaningless. (0, Flamebait)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795112)

I know you're all just outraged over this, but really your opinions and choices are meaningless. Companies who _pay_ Novell/Redhat for Linux, as opposed to a bunch of dirty hippies who think everything should be free, will be quite happy about the prospect of friendlier relations with Microsoft and better interoperability with MS operating systems and applications. Ergo, neither Novell nor Redhat care about your pithy quips at "M$/MicroShaft/Whatever"'s expense.

I hardly believe it. (1)

weteko (1022621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795140)

Microsoft wants to make deals with more companies to get a percentage of more companies profits? Surprise.

Also... if I create my own lil' pet distribution and add it to distrowatch will I get $300 million? (Heck I'd settle for $300).

Funniest day ever will ofcourse be when Ballmer contacts OpenBSD for a deal like this...

Re:I hardly believe it. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795190)

Yeah, that would be funny considering OpenBSD is largely irrelevent nowadays. It would be like him contacting the Plan9 or Hurd developers for a deal like this.

Im all for it "IF" (1)

jrspur2003 (1002028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795146)

Im all for it if it brings gaming & other innovations to linux desktop... I know there are games for linux but they are few and far between and there is cedega/wineX but thats still difficult Ive had trouble installing games and even getting games to work thru Cedega even if it says its supported... I should be able to install a game and have it execute without a headache... As for the other innovations I know linux offers virtually everything MS has but for the most part its difficult for the average user to setup and install linux... Even with the YUM YSAT(i dont remember exactly what SUSE's is) and apt-get
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