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Microsoft Getting Paid for Patents in Linux?

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the now-wait-a-minute dept.

Patents 377

kripkenstein noted an Interview with Jeremy Allison where the interviewer asks 'One of the persistent rumors that's going around is that certain large IT customers have already been paying Microsoft for patent licensing to cover their use of Linux, Samba and other free software projects.' and Jeremy responds "Yes, that's true, actually. I mean I have had people come up to me and essentially off the record admit that they had been threatened by Microsoft and had got patent cross license and had essentially taken out a license for Microsoft patents on the free software that they were using [...] But they're not telling anyone about it. They're completely doing it off the record."

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fuck IP and MS and everybody (0, Troll)

GodLogiK (650517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973008)

fucking IP bullshit, people patent stuff just for patenting it so they can rape people later maybe someone should shoot them in the motherfucking head.

Re:fuck IP and MS and everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973214)

Problem is that without patents it would be much harder to sue, threat and destroy.
Thank God we have invented patents!

Re:fuck IP and MS and everybody (4, Funny)

Drizzt Do'Urden (226671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973380)

Maybe we should patent patenting stuff, and than we could sue people who patent something?

Re:fuck IP and MS and everybody (1, Redundant)

Dramacrat (1052126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973734)

You have no ambition, do you?

Re:fuck IP and MS and everybody (0)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973484)

Yes.

We should be shooting them in the head.

Finally, people are starting to get it.

Re:fuck IP and MS and everybody (4, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973574)

The patent holders will be first against the wall when revolution comes!

Slashdot: where posts using the "f-word" and threatening mass murder get modded "Insightful."

Re:fuck IP and MS and everybody (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973538)

Brilliant!!!

Re:fuck IP and MS and everybody (0, Troll)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973568)

Quit being a fucking crybaby & find somthing to patent then follow through with the exaustive processes required to patent it, then come back here & whine.

Re:fuck IP and MS and everybody (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973718)

The process is clearly not exhaustive, because of the amount of prior art that is typically missed. Perhaps you meant exhausting. But even so, that doesn't mean it was meritorious or worthwhile (you could waste a lifetime of work making a marshmallow car. If no-one wants marshmallow cars, you've just wasted your life) - in this case you're telling someone to do work on satisifying the patent monopoly bureaucracy in a purely artificial system*. The work effort would be better spent on developing something cool (the fact you say "find something to patent" shows how low the USA has sunk - mere discoveries("finds") aren't supposed to be patentable in the first place), profitting, and pumping some of the profit back into the campaign to abolish the patent monopoly system (which ultimately needs to go the way the institution of slavery went).

*In fact, it's now been shown [ffii.org] that that patenting work activity SUBSTITUTES for research activity, at least in the software field. That is to say, the patent system isn't just not encouraging innovation and progress, it's actually actively discouraging it. Brilliant.

Re:fuck IP and MS and everybody (4, Insightful)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973628)

fucking IP bullshit, people patent stuff just for patenting it so they can rape people later maybe someone should shoot them in the motherfucking head.
Slashdot: Where defining "patent trolling" with the language of an asinine thirteen-year-old will get you modded "insightful"! Hooray!

Re:fuck IP and MS and everybody (5, Funny)

Colz Grigor (126123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973834)

Dear sir,

I regret to inform you that the firm which I represent has acquired a patent on "the desire of shooting people in the motherfucking head" technology, which you've included in your most recent post to Slash Dot.

The licensing fee for this technology is $100, however the penalty fee for utilizing the technology without first having acquired a license is $900, so we will be collecting $1,000 from you post haste.

::Colz Grigor

Proof (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973976)

As of yet there is no proof they are doing this. " off the record, anonymous contacts" mean nothing.

Now, if its proven to be happening, then ya. its time to get pissed off. ( though, no one can say this wasnt unexpected )

Why shouldn't they ? (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973016)


Yes, I know, software patents are the spawn of Satan, no-one (not even me, actually :-) likes them. The point is, though, that software patents are currently completely legal, and any owner of such is going to exploit that. Why would anyone expect anything different ?

I'm nowhere near a fanboy for Microsoft (quite the opposite, if you read my posting history), but in this case, I can't see they've done anything *wrong*. You can argue that software patents are bad - yes, agreed. You can argue that these particular patents are flawed, perhaps they are. You can argue that it's just not moral to profit from the work of others, and yes I agree with that too.

But, sadly, what they're doing appears to be legal, so perhaps the ire ought to be directed at what makes it legal, rather than shooting the messenger (dammit :-).

Simon (ducking)

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (2)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973034)

I've not used Google. Sorry.

If SMB protocol is patented (wouldn't suprise me) apple would be in trouble too.

Then again, BeOS back in the day (hey, the free version in 99 quickly became my primary OS!) used CIFS (common internetwork file share) and apparently was inter-operable with SMB somehow? I've always been a bit vague on that point.

Anyhoo. If CIFS is "available" and "interoperable", why does everyone insist on SMB vs CIFS?

CIFS == SMB renamed (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973210)

At least, as far as I'm aware it is. They may have added stuff to the SMB protocol to make it "CIFS", but I thought it was purely a marketing exercise, designed to allow MS to licence it to others.

It wouldn't surprise me to find that Apple had paid a licence fee to MS...

Simon

Re:CIFS == SMB renamed (-1, Offtopic)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973384)

Hey, drop me an e-mail. I was looking at your website, and want to talk to you about doing business in general. I'm in St. Louis, and have built a data center from the ground up and as a result I'm not getting bandwidth quite as cheaply as you, but I'm building out fiber and as soon as I do that, we'll be in about the same boat. Just wondered if we could chat.

Re:CIFS == SMB renamed (0, Offtopic)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973712)

Mods, buy a clue. I'm the GP, and wanted to reach the guy, but he didn't post his e-mail address. Gawd.

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (5, Informative)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973226)

D'oh. Found my answer:

http://ubiqx.org/cifs/SMB.html [ubiqx.org]

"Like NetBIOS, the Server Message Block protocol originated a long time ago at IBM. Microsoft embraced it, extended it, and in 1996 gave it a marketing upgrade by renaming it "CIFS"."

Short answer: I have it backwards. SMB is the "open" one. CIFS is what you get after MS does their embrace and extend act on it. Ooops. Sorry for the misinformation!

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (1, Offtopic)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973324)

Since I'm creating a "talk-to-myself" thread here. I have a question for the Windows guys out there.

I've been about 2 years now without using Windows regularly, having started my own company that uses Linux, FreeBSD, and OSX instead. Back when I was still working for a Microsoft Solutions Provider, they made a big stink about how the latest versions of Windows didn't require WINS or NetBIOS for name resolution and SMB. Last night my wife had to work late (tax season, accounting firm) and she had a single user with a Mac laptop that needed to do PPTP VPN, everyone else was using some proprietary "VPN through Internet Explorer" solution. Was easy enough to set up, but she was concerned about the user not being able to "browse" to the nas, which of course was SMB. Mac's "Network Neighborhood" as it were, doesn't populate with all of the networks shares.

This has been a sore point with me for years, and most Windows admins just don't "get it". Name resolution doesn't get you network neighborhood population. Machines have to broadcast (ie, netbios) that they are available and sharing. On Macs, but default they use zeroconf and multicast dns to accomplish this, ie everyone gets a hostname.local name with IP resolution as their LAN IP address. This doesn't happen in windows. Windows uses NetBIOS to accomplish this.

In either case, PPTP is a routing protocol, and despite pulling the wool over your eyes, you do NOT have an IP on the system physical subnet. Broadcasts such as NetBIOS and mdns do not cross subnet barriers. I've had people tell me for years that they can make network neighborhood populate over (pptp) vpn. I make it work for my clients using bridged OpenVPN, whereas you *are* on the same subnet, and broadcasts do get there, but at a performance loss.

Is there some sort of Windows voodoo you admins are using, do you cheat somehow, or what? I told her to just send her an e-mail with a link:

smb://nas.windowsdomain.loc/share%20name

She can click that and it will work, presuming you're pushing one of the directory servers as her dns server. If you push windowsdomain.loc as a search parameter, then you could do just:

smb://nas/share%20name

She was using a Firebox firewall to do the pptp vpn, and apparently you can't push the search parameter. yay. Anyway, Windows people, what's the voodoo here, or am I right and it just can't be done using PPTP?

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973414)

It depends on the setup. AD networks do not need NetBIOS as they advertise through the AD, using DNS and other gubbins (and this has been the default since Win2k). However if you're in a workgroup setup, or you don't have the AD supporting dynamic DNS as your primary DNS servers or your DNS server doesn't support dynamic registration then you're back to the NetBIOS situation. And for most home setups using the router as the DNS server, well it's unlikely they do support dynamic registration. So the admins are right, not you I'm afraid, if you have a properly configured network. It's just doing that at home is a pain in the ass.

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973762)

Um, not at home. Corporate network. Macs do integrate with AD, however this is a laptop, doing PPTP. AD integration on a mac across PPTP is a bit sketchy. But I think I'm right in the general sense that across PPTP broadcasts do not go. I'm (for once in my life!) not bashing windows here. Just following a protocol. Point is, SMB does not a Network neighborhood fill. WINS wouldn't do it either, as that's just another way to resolve names. You have to know that you want to resolve the name to matter, thus NetBIOS or zeroconf. AD cheating a sneaking a list of available network SMB shares accomplishes the same thing, but makes me wonder how AD knows is joe random machine on the subnet starts sharing out it's mp3 folder? Or only "AD approved" shares get populated?

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (2, Interesting)

fatboy (6851) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973586)

Enable WINS on one of your DNS boxen and point your client machine to it. (My best off the cuff guess)

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973738)

That might work, except that it was a mac. There's no (easily recognizable) way to set a WINS server on the mac. Plus it was a remote user. Such options need to get pushed when they connect to PPTP.

What is wrong... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973804)

...is that MICRO$OFT extends things which are not considered "prior art"; yet, if you want to extend M$' things, you're in for serious "legal" threats.

Corporate bullying should never be tolerated in a mature nation. Also, corporation profit compromising as a motive for prosecution tells a lot about (lack of) respect for humans.

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973240)

CIFS is just another name for SMB. I think Microsoft started using the name CIFS rather than SMB for a while but the SMB name stuck (probably due to Samba).

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973078)

So nothing's wrong until there's a law against it? Microsoft aren't the 'messenger', they're the ones that are doing something that some people regard as wrong. People who have the courage to maintain their own sense of right and wrong. The messenger would be the people reporting on it.

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (4, Insightful)

Canordis (826884) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973090)

Legal isn't the same as moral. Just because there's no law against something doesn't make it morally acceptable.

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (2, Interesting)

Teun (17872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973182)

I would say (if true) Microsoft is trying to make money of the OSS developers by claiming it's their own.
If MS has found their IP in OSS stuff they ought to come forward and give the programmer a chance to fix it.
But then MS might only have SCO-type of proof...

Makes me wonder, if ever someone gets dragged into court by MS claiming their IP is being infringes upon and that someone could prove MS knew about it for a long time, even charges for it, would/should that make it a difficult case for MS?

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973216)

I'm not a lawyer, but from what I understand, it would make the case more difficult. Once Microsoft learns of someone infringing their patents, they have to act on it within a reasonable amount of time.

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973280)

Once Microsoft learns of someone infringing their patents, they have to act on it within a reasonable amount of time.

You're thinking of trademarks.

Patents have no such limitations.

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973412)

You don't need to be a lawyer. You just need to know Novell has SOLD OUT the linux community to M$.

I don't know why they should not own everything. (4, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973582)

But, sadly, what they're doing appears to be legal, so perhaps the ire ought to be directed at what makes it legal, rather than shooting the messenger (dammit :-).


In this case, the messenger is also the guilty party. M$ is one of the largest proponents of software patents and other bogus "IP" laws.


The reason you should be outraged is that they now own your code. Without any further effort than paying off a bunch of lawmakers and lawyers, they have secured an income on .... everything. They also grant themselves the power to shut down projects they don't like. Make no mistake, a little control for M$ is total control when it gets in the way of your software freedoms. Long after Vista bombs in the market place, M$ will be profiting from your work and using it to cause you further harm in any way they please.


This is why anti-patent language in GPL 3 is so important and why everyone should support it. The true cost of supporting M$ though judicial extortion will only be revealed if we hang together. The internet itself would not function without GPL'd code. Laws will change if suddenly that code is unavailable.


I'm nowhere near a fanboy for Microsoft (quite the opposite, if you read my posting history)


I will do exactly that. See you in half an hour or so.


Re:Why shouldn't they ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973588)

I think even worse than software patents is genetic patents.

in the spirit of Al Capone (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973740)

But, sadly, what they're doing appears to be legal,

With this off the record business, I wonder if they are claiming it on taxes? Both on the giving and recieveing end of the "patent extortion". Basically just how under the table is this?

Re:Why shouldn't they ? (1)

pseudochaotic (548897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973886)

Come on, this can't possibly be legal. Suing people for using your competitors' products? :/ There's got to be a law against that somewhere, and in any case, Microsoft is the *last* company that should be testing the limits of antitrust laws these days.

Why be different? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17974032)

I do agree with you 100%, however, Microsoft did say on the record they wouldnt pull this exact stunt.. So yes, we can bitch at them for going back on their word, if its true.

Plausible, but no proof (5, Interesting)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973030)

While the idea is plausible and scary, where's the proof? If I were being threatened by Microsoft, I'd sure as hell make it public. What better way to defend yourself than getting support of the entire Linux/Free Software community?

Re:Plausible, but no proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973118)

While the idea is plausible and scary, where's the proof? If I were being threatened by Microsoft, I'd sure as hell make it public. What better way to defend yourself than getting support of the entire Linux/Free Software community?

While I admire some of the people who contribute to FOSS projects, their help is absolutely useless to the legal threats of Microsoft.

Re:Plausible, but no proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973126)

"What better way to defend yourself than getting support of the entire Linux/Free Software community?"

I would prefer attorneys.

Re:Plausible, but no proof (2, Insightful)

robinvanleeuwen (1009809) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973156)

I'd make it public too , but you and i have (in comparison) nothing to lose.
If it is true than Microsoft sure as hell selects his targets by who they
think will pay up offcourse and selects a target (victem) that doesn't want
to see this information out in public. I mean if some Windows only shop A
has customers that are trusting the company A because they only use Microsoft
products. Microsoft discovers that company A actually runs on Linux on his
internal network, i would say company A is a perfect candidate to squeeze some
dollars out off...

It's plain and simple extortion me thinks, but hey, if they can pass it off as
protecting their IP than more power to them. Fighting this won't change a thing.
General public opinion is pro-microsoft, sad but true things have to become
much and much and much worse before people start to wake up and revolt. I hope that
day comes soon.

But i can be wrong to offcourse...

Re:Plausible, but no proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973232)

if it is true than Microsoft sure as hell selects his targets by who they
think will pay up offcourse and selects a target (victem) that doesn't want
to see this information out in public.


Yeah, but if the targets are publicly traded corporations, then they shouldn't able to hide the fact that they are making royalty payments to Microsoft. It's going to be listed somewhere on a corporate balance sheet. It might take a lot digging through SEC documents to find it, though.

Re:Plausible, but no proof (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973190)

Its a nice thought and as a private organization or individual it might make sense but its not going to make sense to lots of corporate decision makers. Publicly admiting the Microsoft is threating to sue you is *Not* going to help your stock price any. Changes are you own some stock in the business yourself, so there is even a personal motiviation. Also there is going to be a long and costly legal battle if you decide to go the mat with M$. You can't afford to half ass your defense, if you lose its gonna really hurt so the only option is win, that is going to take dollars that you may not want to spend, because you could use them to be otherwise competivie, or you might not even have those dollars.

No for most public companies its going to be cheaper to bow to M$ extortion, hint M$ will customize their demands so that is the case, then to fight them. Its no surpise at all M$ can basically shake down corporate FOSS users. Until the patent/copyright situation is really resolved and sadly I don't think the SCO case is going to fully resolve it, especially the patent side, M$ can bully anyone they want.

Which is exactly what Novell was trying to stop ostensibly, although I think their motives were far less pure personaly.

Re:Plausible, but no proof (1)

dword (735428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973450)

support of the entire Linux/Free Software community? Yeah, compare that to all the support MS has from their lawyers, considering that they're innocent until YOU can PROVE otherwise.

stupidity (0, Troll)

phrostie (121428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973058)

does Ms have a patent on Stupidity, because that is what they are paying for.

so do home users (3, Insightful)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973076)

Most home users have been forced to buy XP home anyway.

Re:so do home users (1)

dueyfinster (872608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973616)

It doesn't have to be this way [bbc.co.uk] though, maybe if more people knew? Although this seems unfair to punish OEMS, it is the only way they'll learn some people don't want MS taxes they don't have to pay.

TFA (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973104)

So you don't have to go through 4 image-laden pages

Novell-Microsoft pact not about interoperability, says Open Source leader
By: Don Marti
LinuxWorld (US) (09 Feb 2007)

COMMENT ON THIS ARITCLE

LinuxWorld OpenSolutions Summit speaker Jeremy Allison explains some tricky details of Linux/Windows interoperability, what the Novell/Microsoft deal really does for interoperability, and a vision for a future easy-to-administer network filesystem.

Don Marti, LinuxWorld.com: You've been in the news lately for leaving Novell over the controversial Novell/Microsoft patent licensing deal.

Jeremy Allison: That's true.

LinuxWorld: Now, when I talked to you a while ago, you said, "I don't give away my software. I cooperate with people who cooperate with me. How does that relate to what's going on here, patent licensing-wise?"

Allison: Well, kind of peripherally really. Essentially, this is going back to the misnomer of "free software." A lot of people, corporations included, hear the word free, and they don't think about the second meaning of the word free. They just think, "oh, it's without cost." And, of course, it isn't. And the cost is you have to reciprocate. You have to give exactly the same terms to people you give it to that you get yourself. It's the share and share a like kind of license. So, when somebody violates that essentially by negotiating favorite terms for themselves, that they don't want to give to other people, then that I object to strenuously, up to and including leaving a company because of it. This is why some people in the free software community like to say software libre, liberated software, although that doesn't quite mean the same thing in English either. But essentially it's a word meaning the second meaning of the word free, which is freedom.

LinuxWorld: We need an extra word for free in the English language now.

Allison: I'm sure Richard Stallman will come up with one. After all, he works at MIT where Norm Chomsky works. I'm sure Chomsky can come up with something.

LinuxWorld: That sounds like a good project that maybe he can get a Google Summer of Code student to work on for him. So, you're at Google now?

Allison: I am indeed. And you know what they say about Google? It's like Fight Club. The first rule about Google is you don't talk about Google. And the second rule about Google is you don't talk about Google. Now that's kind of secretive. But fun -- a lot of fun.

LinuxWorld: It's my favorite fajita place in Mountain View.

Allison: You don't like La Fiesta instead -- man!

LinuxWorld: I like La Fiesta for the burritos, but the fajitas at Google really have something going for them.

Allison: I'm still a La Fiesta man. In case people don't know, La Fiesta is the place where the SGI engineers used to go every Wednesday night. But this was back when they occupied the Google campus. It's funny. I ran into a guy I used to work with who was a director of engineering I think at SGI. We're essentially in the same campus. And we looked at each other and said, "It's kind of like coming home, isn't it?"

LinuxWorld: SGI put some of their internal man pages on the Internet in I think it was 1997.

Allison: Did they?

LinuxWorld: And one of the internal commands at SGI was the burrito command. Allison: Oh, I vaguely remember that -- yes, yes. You could specify your burrito.

LinuxWorld: You'd type in burrito, and depending on either the command line options you supplied or the contents of your ".burritorc" file, it would generate the appropriate burrito order and send it out with the fax server.

Allison: I do remember that, actually. I never used it. But then again I tend to like eating at home rather than eating on campus. It's nice to see the family occasionally.

LinuxWorld: Now the reason that you left Novell has to do with Microsoft and Novell setting up a deal to in effect pay Microsoft a patent royalty on copies of Linux sold.

Allison: That's right. I mean essentially, it's a patent cross license. They don't call it that. They call it a covenant not to sue with customers. But when you boil it down, and you look at it really closely, it is a patent cross license. And section seven of the GPL specifically states that you can't cut yourself a special patent cross license deal. Essentially it's one of those situations where everyone has to hang together not separately, as it were. So, in other words, you can't cut yourself special deals. And as I said, I wanted to like the deal. I had no objections. People were claiming, "oh, we just hate Microsoft." And this is not true. I actually had no objections whatsoever to any of the parts of the deal other than this one. But this one just killed it for me -- totally and completely I'm afraid.

LinuxWorld: Other parts of the deal -- was there anything in there that was actually relevant to improving interoperability between --?

Allison: No, I'm sorry. I know what you're going to ask. I mean that part I found amusing rather than anything else because the whole point of it was saying that, oh, we're going to improve interoperability. But if you look at it closely, I think it covers some very specific federated directory things, which essentially very few people in the world actually care about.

What people really want is a second source Active Directory replacement. Let's just say Novell was doing interesting work. That's what Samba 4 is about, and they're always doing a lot of interesting work there. But people who think that Microsoft will now give the information that is needed in order to do that to Novell just because of this deal are delusional. What you have to think about is that essentially Microsoft has been fighting tooth and nail not to give away any of this information to free software projects. So, they may think that just because they signed some patent cross licensing deal with Novell -- even though Microsoft really, really wanted the patent cross licensing deal, just because they signed that, do you think they're going to give away stuff that they essentially have fought absolutely and completely against the EU and paid billions of dollars in fines to avoid. So, no, that's not going to happen.

LinuxWorld: One of the persistent rumors that's going around is that certain large IT customers have already been paying Microsoft for patent licensing to cover their use of Linux, Samba and other free software projects. And the Novell deal -- isn't it just taking that and doing the same kind of thing wholesale?

Allison: Yes, that's true, actually. I mean I have had people come up to me and essentially off the record admit that they had been threatened by Microsoft and had got patent cross license and had essentially taken out a license for Microsoft patents on the free software that they were using, which they then cannot redistribute. I think that would be the restriction. I would have to look quite carefully. So, essentially that's not allowed. But they're not telling anyone about it. They're completely doing it off the record.

The problem with the Novell deal is -- Novell gave Microsoft what Microsoft dearly wanted, which is a public admission that they think that Linux violates the Microsoft patent. So, that's the difference between this and the sort of off-the-record quiet deals. This one is public. This one is Novell admitting, "yes, we think that Linux violates Microsoft patents." Now, of course, Novell has come out and said, "no, that's not what we said at all. We don't think that." To which, of course, Microsoft publicly humiliated them and said, "oh, yes, that's really what you were saying." It's kind of funny. They couldn't even wait until the press conference was over to start threatening users with a Linux system.

LinuxWorld: Watching Novell management being subjected to this was like watching a child eating a bug for money. It's embarrassing. Allison: It is humiliating. I was horrified to say. It was humiliating. Yes. It really is like, "Go on. Eat a bug. Go on. Go on. Here's some money. Eat a bug." Yes, sad but true.

LinuxWorld: So, what's the status on Samba's ability to go GPLV3? Are you squared away as far as copyright assignments go?

Allison: Yes, pretty much. Well, we have a very distributed copyright. So, what we'll be doing is we'll be contacting people who hold copyright. But there aren't actually that many of them. And we're big fans of the GPLv3. I mean personally I was involved a little bit in some of the early drafting. I actually think it's a great idea.

I'm not, as you may know, a fan of [digital rights management]. And I find it a little bit of FUD being spread, actually, sometimes within the open source and the free software community, around the GPLv3, saying, "oh, it's awful. It's banning DRM." And a lot of corporations who don't like the GPLv3 would be happy to say it's banning DRM; that's really bad. And actually it isn't banning DRM. All it's saying is if you want DRM write your own code, which is pretty much consistent with what the GPL has always said. If you don't want to share in the freedoms that we give to people then write your own code. It's not banning DRM; it's just banning people from taking GPLv3 code and incorporating it into DRM systems. If people want DRM, and if they think that frightening your customers and forcing them to do things is a worthwhile business model, then just write your own code to do that. Just don't use ours.

LinuxWorld: If you distribute GPLv3 code to somebody, you can't use DRM to enforce the same kind of copying restrictions that the GPL already forbids you to enforce with the license.

Allison: Yes. I mean essentially what it does is it says the key for any signed binaries is part of the source code. In the same way you have to give source code away, you would need to give the keys to the signed binaries. The other thing is a lot of people saying, "oh, this is very bad; it stops secured systems." No, it doesn't do that either. You can still write completely secured systems. Let's say I wanted to write an election system using GPLv3 software, when I give that code to the people running the election, I just have to make sure that they get the keys, too. But that's the whole point. You're giving it to the owner of the machine that's running it.

LinuxWorld: And there's nothing that says you have to give the key to your copyrighted content just because the device runs GPLv3 code. Allison: That's right. Absolutely right. So, there's a lot of misinformation about it. Was it a Mark Twain quote -- I don't remember whose it was -- I know Al Gore used it in "An Inconvenient Truth" -- "It's hard to make a man understand something when his livelihood depends on him not understanding it."

LinuxWorld: I think it was H.L. Mencken. Allison: It sounds like Mark Twain, but it wasn't. Thanks for that. [It was Upton Sinclair. -- Ed.] LinuxWorld: I'm starting to see more interest in GPLv3 as the next step in the process is coming along. Solaris is making some noise about it, too. Aren't they?

Allison: I spoke to one of Sun's open source people. What I recommended that they do is they try and get Richard Stallman to be on stage with them when they announce they're going GPLv3 and to stand up and say, "This is the GNU system -- GNU/Solaris." Because Linux, after all, is just a kernel. But it would be the GNU system at that point. There isn't a thing wrong with having GNU/Solaris just in the same way as having GNU/Linux. All power to them. Unfortunately, of course, I'm sure they're doing it just for the sort of screw-Linux factor. It doesn't really matter why to be honest. As long as it's under a decent GPL license, I'm pretty happy about it. LinuxWorld: They've got a lot of interesting stuff in there.

Allison: Oh, they do.

LinuxWorld: ZFS looks very interesting.

Allison: I wish that Linux could take advantage of it. But of course, if Linux goes to GPLv3 it could. LinuxWorld: Well, it's possible that GPLv3 could be declared to not taint the kernel. Allison: We're getting into some fairly technical legal stuff here which, to be honest, I think I'd rather wait until the lawyers pronounce. The compatibility between two and three is going to be one of those interesting things that better legal minds than I will have to look at and make decisions on.

LinuxWorld: Well, one-third of the code in Linux already has the V2 or later language in the source files. Allison: That's great. I didn't know that.

LinuxWorld: Linus Torvalds did the check for .c files in general, and I went through and did a similar check in the /drivers directory, and they're both about a third.

Allison: Well, I mean, so there is hope -- a possibility there. It's like I said, I don't think it would hurt Linux at all to be GPLv3, and if it means better compatibility with Solaris so that they can share code, that's an excellent idea. LinuxWorld: In practice, they've got so many copyright contributors that it would take a while for people to start putting "v2 or later" language on files instead of just v2.

Allison: I guess so. I'm a big believer in Linus's, "whoever writes the code gets to choose the license." So, if they really don't want to do it, then they don't have to do it. It's their code, they get to choose. LinuxWorld: When you say "their," that includes you now, doesn't it?

Allison: Oh yes. I have my evil grubby copyright inside in the kernel. A tiny bit, actually. I've been helping out Steve French with the CIFS system, which is a replacement for the deprecated SMBFS because it doesn't have a maintainer. So, this is my ongoing goal to try and kill NFS and essentially upgrade CIFS to a Unix to Unix compatible file system.

LinuxWorld: Now you say CIFS -- that's "Common Internet File System." Allison: That's right because it is very common, but you don't run it over the Internet, and it's not a file system as I like to say. It's the protocol that Samba and the Windows client speak. My goal for this really is, if you think about organizations, everybody has and will have for the foreseeable future Microsoft Windows. They just do. It's the law. It's the rules. It comes on every machine. So, essentially, you're going to have CIFS, and Windows really doesn't speak anything but CIFS, so you're going to have CIFS going to your desktop plans anyway. So, if you want to put Linux or Apple clients in there, they also really have to speak CIFS because if you're thinking about managing a large number of desktops, you don't want to have Linux clients use NFS, the Windows clients use CIFS. And then we have to handle Appletalk from the Apple clients. You want one protocol. You want one nice standard protocol that you just roll out for everybody. And ugly, wart-filled though it is, CIFS is that protocol.

LinuxWorld: I've set up one of those three-protocol file servers with Netatalk and Samba and NFS on the same box, and it wasn't pretty.

Allison: It sucks, doesn't it? I'm still working with Steve on some semantics -- things like opens and renames -- that's probably the last thing that we need. And at that point, we have a complete Unix-to-Unix solution with CIFS. Hey, and we even do the locking right. You know how NFS locking sucks. Well, our locking works. Ha, ha. Take that NFSv4. Sorry. And we do POSIX ACLs which are sane as opposed to NFSv4 ACLs, which are not. LinuxWorld: Well, it's fun looking at things like the maildir file format, which is cleverly designed to get around the lack of reliable locking.

Allison: I mean why do this? Why not just make the remote file system work properly anyway? Well, that's what we're doing. That's one of the things that we're up to. LinuxWorld: Alfresco even has a CIFS implementation for their content management system so that you can treat your content management system as a network drive. It's pretty cool.

Allison: Is that running Samba underneath?

LinuxWorld: I don't know what they're running underneath. It's just a feature that looks nice for companies that want to point the Windows users at the content management system instead of having them shooting obsolete versions of the same documents back and forth.

Allison: Well, hopefully, they're using Samba because that's basically what we designed for, is to make people's lives easier doing things like that so that we take care of the compatibility issues, and they can get on with developing their product.

LinuxWorld: Sounds great. Well, thanks for being on the podcast, Jeremy.

Allison: No problem. I'm looking forward to seeing you in New York.

COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE

Copyright © 2006
ITworldcanada.com

Posted anonymously to prevent karma whoring.

--
FST

C'mon Jeremy! Spill it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973108)

Inquiring minds want to know! Post as AC and start naming names.

A time for the lawyers (0, Flamebait)

conlaw (983784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973112)

Now it's time to bring in those big class-action firms and sue M$ on behalf of the whole 'nix community for breach of the GPL. If Linus himself were to be the named plaintiff, it might get the attention of some of the sheep out there. No more "Heil, Microsoft"?

Re:A time for the lawyers (1)

jonasj (538692) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973294)

How exactly is MS breaching the GPL? Also, the GPL is a copyright license, not a contract, so you cannot sue for "breach of GPL". What you can so them for is copyright violation, if they are distributing your stuff in a way that you haven't given them a license for.

Re:A time for the lawyers (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973670)

And up to this point what has covered EULA such as the GPL?

Contract law.

Does this mean that a "license" is a contract? Case law seems to indicate yes.

RTFGPL (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973862)

And up to this point what has covered EULA such as the GPL?

RTFGPL, dude. GPL is NOT an EULA. It's a distribution license.

From the GPL Section 0 [gnu.org]

Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of
running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program
is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the
Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).
Whether that is true depends on what the Program does

Re:RTFGPL (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17974172)

RTFGPL, dude. GPL is NOT an EULA. It's a distribution license.

A license that you need to make 100 copies of GPL-covered software, for each of your servers. That, or it's legal to make 100 copies of Windows, for each of your servers. Either way, Microsoft loses.

way to link mid-article (1)

vic-traill (1038742) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973142)

Summary is linked to the *middle* of the article. This ensures that any /. reader who actually goes to TFA doesn't have to read any of that pesky 'context' or let any of that tiresome 'background' get in their way. Gotta get those First Post!! articles in!

There is no change of context in page 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973382)

I've read all 4 pages of it, and the full context doesn't modify the article summary.

For a change, the Slashdot submission is quite accurate.

Re:way to link mid-article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17974088)

W00t! First Post!!

NFS is easier anyways (5, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973168)

No big loss. NFS is easier to use, has real file permissions, etc.

Just another "innovation" from MSFT [smb] that they'll try to horde instead of playing the "let's weigh in on technical merits" game.

And for fuck sake, why doesn't Windows support NFS? It makes mixing boxes on a lan such a bitch ... oh wait ... I get it.

Tom

Re:NFS is easier anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973322)

And for fuck sake, why doesn't Windows support NFS? It makes mixing boxes on a lan such a bitch ... oh wait ... I get it.
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/interopmigration/ unix/sfu/sfu35int.mspx [microsoft.com]

Re:NFS is easier anyways (1, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973362)

NFS is a joke. The security model is broken in version 3, and in version 4, it's a complicated mess. Not that Samba is a lot better. But it's still better than NFS. As in, if I was networking a bunch of Linux machines together, I'd use Samba, even if I didn't have any Windows clients.

Linux in general isn't good at LAN-level networking. It's hard to manage network users, and it's hard to get permissions set correctly. It's getting better, but right now, for heavy-duty LAN stuff, Windows and Active Directory are much better and easier to deal with in almost all cases.

Re:NFS is easier anyways (4, Insightful)

johnw (3725) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973752)

NFS is a joke. The security model is broken in version 3, and in version 4, it's a complicated mess.
This misses the point of the differences between NFS and SMB.

NFS was designed for use in an environment where both client and server boxes were secure, multi-user systems. One logical connection per share would serve for multiple users. Of course, if you allow insecure clients into the equation then all your security is blown out of the water.

SMB was designed on the assumption that the client would be an insecure single-user system. All the security is on the server, and connections are on a per-user basis.

Neither system is really ideal for the situations which we have today. What is needed is a secure system which copes with multi-user client boxes.

John

Re:NFS is easier anyways (3, Informative)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 7 years ago | (#17974108)

What is needed is a secure system which copes with multi-user client boxes.

FUSE and sshfs [sourceforge.net] meet your requirements. I've been using sshfs between 5 systems for a year now, and its operation has been flawless.

Re:NFS is easier anyways (1)

msh104 (620136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17974112)

nfsv4 has this, with kerberos as it is quite nice, but currently also quite unstable

Re:NFS is easier anyways (4, Insightful)

undertow3886 (605537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973420)

First of all, Windows does support NFS. Secondly, NFS security is a joke. All you have to do is change the user ID of your user on your machine to the user ID of the person you want to steal files from on the file server. Gods help your server admin if he doesn't have root_squash enabled. Then all you have to do is su to root on your machine, and you have access to everything on the file server.

SMB has actual security and checks on the server side. Hence you have to type a password with mount -t smb, but not with mount -t nfs. Doesn't it seem kind of suspect when you don't have to enter a password with NFS?

Not flamebait, there are serious flaws in NFS (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973626)

You can only use it in a remotely secure fashion when you have complete control of both the client and server. i.e. only within the datacenter, if a client is out on the shop floor, it's insecure.

SMB it seems may be patent encumbered, which leaves the rather unpalatable alternative that there is a need for a ground up free, open standard network filesystem which can be implemented on all platforms.

 

Re:Not flamebait, there are serious flaws in NFS (1)

undertow3886 (605537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973922)

sshfs has been good to me lately. It needs fuse, but OSX has that now. Windows clients should should just connect to a Samba server.

Re:NFS is easier anyways (1)

tnn_dk (933235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973684)

Windows does in fact support NFSv2 and NFSv3 - but is requires an free installation of SFU (Services for Unix). But as always with Microsoft software, the software is pretty broken - and performance is 1/5 of an SMB/Samba/linux solution.

Re:NFS is easier anyways (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973698)

And for fuck sake, why doesn't Windows support NFS? It makes mixing boxes on a lan such a bitch ... oh wait ... I get it.

it does thru SFU [wikipedia.org]

Re:NFS is easier anyways (2, Informative)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973980)

Actually SMB not even is Microsofts invention it was once an open protocol under the umbrella of IBM. Microsoft blatantly stole it!

Alternatively, you take file serving away from MS (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973200)

Write a free cross platform client and server network filesystem which runs on Windows, OSX, Unix, Linux and which uses an open standard for locking, authentication, encryption, ACLs etc.

Leaving file serving in MS's control simply leaves you open to patent infringement etc.

 

Re:Alternatively, you take file serving away from (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973268)

That's been my thought for a while. It would be a big job, of course, but one that would give a true alternative to Microsoft.

Re:Alternatively, you take file serving away from (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973308)

Write a free cross platform client and server network filesystem which runs on Windows, OSX, Unix, Linux and which uses an open standard for locking, authentication, encryption, ACLs etc.

Well, that was the idea with CIFS. Microsoft embraced it, and then extended it to become SMB. [samba-tng.org]

Re:Alternatively, you take file serving away from (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973540)

Thing is, that's the problem. It seems that MS are essentially blackmailing people who use "their" technology in Samba. What they've done is destroy any trust that the SMB and CIFS technology can be used without being sued into oblivion...

With an independently controlled and standard network file system that wouldn't be the case.

 

Re:Alternatively, you take file serving away from (1)

KidSock (150684) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973418)

Write a free cross platform client and server network filesystem which runs on Windows, OSX, Unix, Linux and whi...

And how do you hook that into Windows such that the Kernel can efficiently make access control decisions and everything else it needs to do?

Re:Alternatively, you take file serving away from (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973652)

such that the Kernel can efficiently make access control decisions and everything else it needs to do?
In exactly the same way you would with any file system.

 

iFolder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973716)

Perhaps you mean iFolder [ifolder.com]

Re:iFolder (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973788)

the iFolder project is built on the Mono/.Net framework
Controlled by MS, just like SMB.

 

Which patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973204)

It's a simple matter to list them surely?

Of course, there are many bits of open source software that are covered by patents (not just from MS). For example, do you want to have a music player that will play mp3 files? You have to pay a licensing fee.

This is so common, it isn't even news.

What does Netapp do? (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973228)

Do they pay Microsoft when you buy a CIFS license for a filer?

Re:What does Netapp do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17974126)

NetApp is one of the few MCPP licensees.

skating on thin GPL ice (1)

wes33 (698200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973236)

Any of these putative companies purchasing a patent license cannot distribute any of the relevant code under the gpl. So maybe that's why they are keeping quiet, or maybe they are not re-distributing any software. If the former, then Jeremy Allison has a moral and legal duty to "out" those companies.

Re:skating on thin GPL ice (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973820)

They're more subtle than that.

They agree with MS that they can use any MS licence, and MS can use any of theirs. This doesn't mean they're acknowledging that any of this code is covered by a patent. They can redistribute it under the terms of the GPL until told otherwise. If it turns out that something is patented, then they can't distribute it, because the GPL says so. But on the other hand, neither could anyone else if that happened.

Patent hucksters are just common criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973242)

Patent hucksters are just common criminals. We should all treat them as such.

It is time.... (1, Insightful)

jonfr (888673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973266)

It is time to delete the patent system, then we delete Microsoft too.

Re:It is time.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973372)

Okay. Good idea. Now here's the important question: HOW?

Re:It is time.... (1)

jonfr (888673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973632)

By replacing the people how support it with the people how hate it. Also, let the people how support the patent system look for a new job while they are at it, maybe they can clean floor or something of that interest. Since they have ruined the system that was meant to protect innovations and turned it into system (a lot of money can be made with a patient) of greed for mega corps in the U.S.

Once Microsoft is deleted, many problem vanish on there own. No special action needed there.

Re:It is time.... (1)

DevilishBrian (1057660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973764)

I you're suggesting to only to delete software patents. In my opinion, computer usage inspires innovation in software. You want to do something new, you can create a new program for it. However, in the pharmaceutical or other industries, there's a much larger risk involved in development. Products take hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for R&D and then more to get through processes like FDA approval. The only thing that allows corporations to recover their losses is the profit they can make by being the sole producer. Removing patents in all industries would have a catastrophic effect on the development of many new technologies.

Re:It is time.... (1)

jonfr (888673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973972)

The patent system is starting to hinder new technology devlopment (since the inventor has to check every patient in the field of his invention if he doesn't want to get sued). In the pharmaceutical the status now is that if the drug companies don't make profit from it (patient expired) they often have little interest in making that drug. It is really sad, because if they where to make those drugs for many diseases that can be cured today that status on live in many countries in Africa would be a lot better then it is today.

The patient system in the U.S should be deleted and new system put in it's place.

FUD (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973314)

This smells like FUD.

Legitimate Businessman's Civic Improvement Cmte... (5, Funny)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973338)

Would like to discuss your annual donation...

Rocco and Knuckles will be by to pick up the envelope.

this sucks... (2, Informative)

Grinin (1050028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973340)

Every time I think of Microsoft and the harm they are causing the end user, and the consumer, it just irritates me beyond belief. Nothing they do benefits the consumer, NOTHING. And yet, the government applauds them for their fine efforts at being completely monopolistic in our modern day capitalistic society.

Makes me want to puke.

Re:this sucks... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973404)

While patent monopolies exist, society isn't really capitalistic. Just as it's wrong to blame "communism" for the idiocy of soviet russia, which never implemented communism properly really, it's wrong to blame "capitalism" for the idiocy of the USA, which has never implemented capitalism properly either.

Think of the Shareholders (5, Insightful)

virtigex (323685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973368)

Do publicly traded companies have to report this kind of thing? I would be quite concerned if a company whose stock I own was paying money under the table to organizations that had been found guilty of criminal acts [wikipedia.org] . Does anybody have an idea of what companies are doing this, so that they can be asked in a stockholders' meeting.

uhh, why would anyone do that??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973472)

Why would anyone do that when you can buy Linux from one of several vendors that idemnify you? I mean, why pay Microsoft money when there are linux vendors who presumably for a lot less, will accept total responsibility for any patent infringement lawsuits??

All I can think is that those paying Microsoft are a little slow...or else they are somehow otherwise vested in Microsoft.

I suppose the one bad thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973482)

Linux users can't boycott Microsoft's products.

Yay Rumors!! (3, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973520)

I heard the illuminadi made them pay Microsoft because these companies know about the Venus base! NOBODY IS SUPPOSED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VENUS BASE! Anyway, the aliens in the Venus base don't use Windows because they know the French government has installed electron bugs in it which can enter your brain and make you like blueberry bagels, and really, who wants that?

Re:Yay Rumors!! (2, Funny)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973920)

I don't have mod points.. but this is important!!! Please someone, for the love of God, MOD PARENT UP! Our lives depend on it - both our own offspring and the offspring of the alien Mother Womb!

If we don't do something soon, Necrosaro may awake!!! Run for your lives!

Everyone, out of the pool!!! (5, Insightful)

libkarl2 (1010619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973702)

I have yet to hear of any evidence, *ever* in the history of computing, where software patents were anything more than the proverbial Turd In The Swimming Pool(tm). You CAN'T polish a turd! Plate it with gold and voila -- it's STILL a turd!

As Floaters ensure that only the most discusting little kids ever use the swimming pool, Software Patents ensure that only the biggest, most amoral lawyer infested companies thrive in the tech industry.

Careful with that double edged blade Microsoft! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17973808)

IBM, SUN and RH may decide to make their software patent money now by extorting it from Microsoft shops at 10x the cost of Windows licenses. They could make a tidy sum and lay the groundwork for abolishing software patents in the public interest.

In other news... (2, Funny)

Looce (1062620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17973982)

You guys totally missed the point of the article. It was about the burrito command.

Mmm, burrito.

Puts the Novell Deal in Perspective (4, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17974152)

Now we can see that Microsoft's deal with Novell was explicitly designed to create and solidify this impression amongst companies using Linux. Novell were well and truly bent over the table, despite the fact that they so innocently claim that they have not admitted any IP issues with Linux or the software they use.
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