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298 comments

Here we go again.... (5, Insightful)

vwjeff (709903) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383723)

Wow. Show me the patents or shut up.

How much were they paid? (3, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383827)

The patent threat is just FUD.

I'm more interested, right now, in how much Xandros was paid for this "deal". Particularly after the problems Novell had with their's. And with Jeremy Allison leaving Novell after that deal.

They know their standing in the community is going to take a hit. So, how much was it worth to them?

Re:How much were they paid? (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384253)

Long term, it won't matter how much short term profit
they make, they will die eventually, just as Microsoft
wants.

Money talks, integrity walks.

Re:How much were they paid? (1)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384325)

They had a standing in the community?

They brought the Linux PC to WalMart. (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384423)

Xandros was the Linux distribution running on Microtel hardware that WalMart was selling. It was a very big deal back then.

It's sad to see how far they've fallen.

Re:How much were they paid? (5, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384415)

They know their standing in the community is going to take a hit. So, how much was it worth to them?
And this his Microsoft is showing how smart it is. It is using the very divisiveness that exists in the open-source community against to attack Linux. The SCO lawsuits have failed. The patents threats are being laughed at. So, pay someone a bunch of money, give them a promise of lawsuit protection and voila, watch a small portion of the community shut that vendor out. Then, target the next distro. Even if this isn't Microsoft's plan, it is working out this way. The Microsoft community shows more cohesiveness than this, which is their strength.

Not exactly like that (it's worse). (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384567)

So, pay someone a bunch of money, give them a promise of lawsuit protection and voila, watch a small portion of the community shut that vendor out.

It seems that they'd do it even without the lawsuit protection.

Microsoft seems to just want that bit in there so they can spread FUD.

So, for some money (small change to Microsoft, big bucks to Novell, no idea about Xandros), Microsoft purchases the assistance of a Linux distributor for spreading FUD.

In which case, it is understandable that the rest of the community will reduce their associations with that company. Why waste efforts on a company that is going to help spread FUD about you, your products and your customers?

I have a plan .... (3, Funny)

PurPaBOO (604533) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384933)

1. Fork Xandros - call it Expandros or something.
2. Do a "patent" deal with Microsoft.
3. ???
4. Profit!

Re:How much were they paid? (4, Insightful)

bigpat (158134) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384815)

Well, I think this has just become a running joke. I think it is much more than just "the Linux community" that thinks Microsoft is full of shit with their lies and marketing ploys.

Microsoft continues to lose all credibility as anything other than a "me too" technology company. Microsoft makes money on the kickbacks it dishes out to idiot CIOs and by its policy of designing vendor lock-in into everything they make, not on the merits of their products.

Smart CIOs would ban MS products from the office, not standardize on them.

Re:Here we go again.... (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384097)

It should be seen as just another argument to exclude software from the list of patentable subject matters. Microsoft will learn it the hard way but they will.

Re:Here we go again.... (1)

ajanp (1083247) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384107)

After the last deal, how often do we really hear anything about SUSE except when talking about some new development with the Microsoft-Novell deal. I guess maybe this is just one more distro that we'll be hearing about less often (wait, actually, we'll probably be hearing about it more often on second thought..)


And I guess these mysterious patents are pretty widespread and must cover a host of different issues considering:

Under the agreement, Microsoft and Xandros will focus on five primary areas over the next five years: systems management interoperability, server interoperability, office document compatibility, sales and marketing support, and IP assurance.

I would guess that they're mostly interested in server interoperability and systems management, but how many more linux distro's do they need to make deals with (all the while using these same 235 patents) before they are satisfied?

Re:Here we go again.... (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384113)

Microsoft: Make me...HAHAHAHAHA! The system is ours to use and abuse. Just try and stop us. We're good for at least ten more years.

Re:Here we go again.... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384175)

That's what I keep saying.

I wrote e-mails as an interested open source/free software developer to Microsoft's Lead Counsel, Brad Smith, but he keeps ignoring me.

Who wants to sue Microsoft for slander of title?

Re:Here we go again.... (5, Interesting)

dpninerSLASH (969464) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384687)

Has anyone stopped to consider the fact that this might be exactly how Microsoft wants the OS community to respond? The backlash against Novell after their deal was significant...it's safe to say they lost at least a handful of customers as a result.

If Microsoft can chip away little by little at the guys who are selling support services, then it only helps their business.

Of course I could be totally wrong.

Re:Here we go again.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19385001)

Why bother? Microsoft have become a joke, if they want to play hard ball - it is they that will be bounced.

Instead we should just concentrate on getting GPLv3 licensed code into the covered distros and then thank Microsoft and their pawns for sub-licensing Microsofts patents.

We will have a valid license courtesy of the 'GPL version 2 or later wording' that Microsoft were well aware of when they entered these deals. Microsoft have been asked to stop distributing Novell linux and refused (although I note they aren't distributing Xandros). They've been told that the license will be changing to forbid patent licenses that don't quack... and here they are, accepting these terms in good faith and entering into another deal.

That seems like an equitable result to me.

First one, then another ... (1, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383749)

... until all the Lemming drank the cool-aide of fear.

How long before MS "protects" enough Linux companies that it claims it owns ... and even invented ... Linux? It may be time for Linus go join the Linux Protection Agency and assume a new identity.

Re:First one, then another ... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384249)

It worked for Jim Jones. Though isn't it actually Kool-Aid of Fear?

Re:First one, then another ... (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384461)

To be precise, it's the Flavour-Aide of Fear.

Re:First one, then another ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19384657)

To be precise, it's the Flavour-Aide of Fear.

Ahemmmm....

To be even more precise, that's Flavor Aid [wikipedia.org] of Fear... (You started it! ;)

Very disappointed with Xandros (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19383757)

I wonder what else Xandros has sold out! I thought they had a good distribution. Thanks, but no thanks. I will stick with people who have integrity and honesty - Fedora and RHEL.

See also: http://www.bpmlegal.com/wselden.html [bpmlegal.com] .

I like these deals (5, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383759)

This is great. I used to have to pick from so many distros, now I have 2 scratched off the list.

I have used SuSe in the past, but I will never again. Xandros I never used and never will.

Re:I like these deals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19383825)

^ my thoughts exactly

I don't, and I'll tell you why (3, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383961)

When it was just Novell, you know they'd be screwed after GPLv3 because they wouldn't have the resources to fork the last GPLv2 releases of everything. But on the other hand, if Novell and Xandros and ??? ('cause at this point I think we can assume MS will continue making deals) get together, there could be significant forks. And that's really, really bad news.

All the people who've been saying "MS has something else up it's sleeve; just wait for it..." have just been vindicated, I believe.

Re:I don't, and I'll tell you why (2, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384099)

Forking isn't bad news. Unless Novell et al completely own the Copyrights on said GPLv2 software (say, a few packages?) they can't change the licensing on it. It will have to stay GPLv2 which allows the rest of us to keep seeing their sources and picking and choosing any useful patches they distribute to their software. On the other hand, they won't be able to do the same to GPLv3 software being worked on by the rest of the community. Forking is bad news for them, not us.

Re:I don't, and I'll tell you why (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384235)

The point I'm trying to wake is that it MS makes enough shills, they'll become the "community." The GPLv2 fork could become the dominant one.

Re:I don't, and I'll tell you why (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384367)

I had a hard time deciding between modding you up, or commenting to clarify something you touched on.

Anything that is the results of any forks, has to remain at leastGPL2, unless they get all the contributors of that product to change. Then, any gpl2 work that SuSE et al. do that is actually useful, can be put right back into the gpl3 main of that product.

This is bad how? Very few distros are going to fall for this crap. This nonsense will be over within 18 months, and RedHat, Ubuntu, etc have much longer-term plans than that.

Re:I don't, and I'll tell you why (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384961)

Then, any gpl2 work that SuSE et al. do that is actually useful, can be put right back into the gpl3 main of that product.

Well, that would depend on whether SuSE et al. decided to put their changes under "GPLv2" or "GPLv2 or any later version".

Re:I don't, and I'll tell you why (2, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#19385007)

Only if it is released as "GPL 2 or later". SuSE could release all their stuff as GPL 2 only, then it can't be put in the GPL 3 version of the product.

Re:I don't, and I'll tell you why (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384645)

Aren't most GNU tools pretty much done? What significant "must have" features are planned for the next few years? What would stop a V2 "community" from examining code from the V3 tree, messaging it a bit so they can't be accused of copying and then putting in their own branch?

In any case, if "free" software is split into two branches, it's only going to make it harder to convince companies to adopt either one.

Re:I don't, and I'll tell you why (0, Troll)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384519)

"All the people who've been saying "MS has something else up it's sleeve; just wait for it..." have just been vindicated, I believe."

It appears that MS had the same thing up its sleeve. I didn't see many people predicting that MS was going to make further agreements with other Linux distributors.

The fact is that if you develop FOSS software as a volunteer, somebody else is profiting from your work and it's only going to get worse. If you're OK with that, fine. If not, welcome to the big, bad, greedy world.

Re:I like these deals (4, Interesting)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384323)

That happens to be openSUSE nowadays, and it is totally unencumbered by any deal Novell has made with Microsoft. And if you used SuSE in the past you're probably interested to know that Yast2 is now a fast, complete and GPL'ed system configurationtool. If you install the smart packages, you can select repositories and update your machine synaptic-style. You'd find that allmost every interesting package can be found on the repositories for openSUSE (from MythTV to XDVDshrink and hugin to ltsp). Novell updates openSUSE like clockwork, and is equally like Red Hat and IBM a big force in kernel development. That makes openSUSE a popular, high quality, solid, open source distribution (and there aren't that many).

Now I know that Novell is very impopular now, but I think, that if openSUSE would disappear it would be loss for open source as a whole. And if also Xandros would disappear it really wouldn't be that great anymore.

Re:I like these deals (2, Insightful)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384401)

Agreed - I actually was considering Xandros for my parents. Xandros looks very "windows like" and if I recall correctly it came with proprietary codecs as well for DVD playback. It was because of this that I considered them. I also considered Linspire for similar reasons. I wonder if they'll be next on Microsoft's list of converts?

I went with Ubuntu in the end. Now I'm glad I did.

~Dave

Re:I like these deals (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384747)

I used to be a big SuSE fan, starting way back in 1999. My last SuSE version was 10.1.

Now I'm using Kubuntu.

As for the OpenSUSE apologists, no thanks. OpenSUSE still exists at Novell's whim, using Novell's resources. Why use that when you can use a distro that has nothing to do with MS?

How about OpenOffice? (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383775)

From their website... [xandros.com]

Office document compatibility. Xandros and Microsoft share the view that competing office productivity applications should, by design, make it easy for customers to exchange files with one another. To that end, Xandros will join Microsoft and other companies that are building open source translators fostering interoperability between documents stored in Open XML and Open Document Format. Xandros will ship the translators in upcoming releases of its Xandros Desktop offering.
Does this mean OO is included?

Re:How about OpenOffice? (1)

monkeyfite (1111279) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384481)

It's likely that the drivers are packed into a special Xandros-only OOffice, and the vanilla OO remains unaffected by the deal. Which is, of course, just another way for Microsoft to say "**** you very much!" Overall, my impression is that Microsquish has decided that while unable to control Linux, they would very much like to control how people use Linux, which distro they choose, etc. After the travesty that is Vista, and all this crap about patents, I would very much like to see the whole company sued into oblivion.

Divide and Conquer (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19383781)

Not exactly a new strategy.

here we go again... (4, Insightful)

theTrueMikeBrown (1109161) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383795)

I am of the opinion that Microsoft will continue to push the boundary as long as it is around.

I don't really know if this is 'news'. Expecting people to be too surprised at this is sort of like saying "Hey, everybody, another person was killed in the middle east today" and expecting to get responses like "Wow, I didn't see that one coming!" or "You gotta be kidding."

Re:here we go again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19384077)

I couldn't tell if you were being observational of current affairs or a racist prick in general.

Re:here we go again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19385101)

Right... because unlike what them rednecks say, there hsan't been a bombing in the middle east for 25 years!!

Disambiguation (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383803)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protection [wikipedia.org]

Anybody care to suggest which of those articles is applicable?

Re:Disambiguation (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19383871)

Probably the condom one. Preferably lubricated, as I've heard MS is heavily endowed. But maybe Xandros likes it rough.

Or, in other words, (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383823)

"Another Distro Bites the Dust." OK, we've got some bad news Monday stuff going on, what with McCain being even more on my bad list now. On the other hand, now we have fewer viable Linux distros to argue about ;)

Selling is good, but giving away is bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19383835)

Seems like MS is making deals with companies, so that the only way you will be able to get Linux is to buy it. No free distros, only companies!

Of course, that means all the linux users move to commercially supported distros, where they can later be sued due to the exclusions of the patent agreements. Meanwhile, MS trades patents or other IP with these companies, basically using their IP for free. Brilliant!

At least, that's what the scheme looks like to me.

Whatever (1)

kernelpanicked (882802) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383841)

Looks like the next Novell has stepped up in line for obsoletion. Then again when was the last time anyone saw a Xandros server or workstation in production use, so does any of this really matter?

Re:Whatever (2, Interesting)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384013)

Exactly, Xandros do not really interact with the wider free/open-source community, so have nothing to lose by getting into bed with Microsoft. The thing is, Microsoft's patents are probably not the best, they got there pretty late in the game, and there are Patent Troll organisations with bigger piles of better patents. So getting the green light from Microsoft does not get you very far.

Redhat ditched the end-user desktop market because they knew that all the money is in servers. Linux, the kernel, and the GNU tools like GCC, Bash, etc, are not very new ideas at all, prior art is everywhere. The basic Linux server system is not that different from a 1970s Unix machine etc. So the only difference between the 1970s box and a Linux server is basically Apache which implements open web standards, etc, and networking stuff which was invented by Novell and other companies that are on the Linux train anyway.

Therefore, I cannot see how a patent lawsuit could do that much damage to the LAMP world, and in the Linux desktop there is no money anyway. Considering the recent Supreme court decision, I think Microsoft's patent lawyers are General Custer and the Indians having one last hurrah before the world moves on.

Re:Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19384491)

>Microsoft's patents are probably not the best, they got there pretty late in the game...

Pretty conclusory generalization.

MS has lousy patents and they have some non trivial ones as a result of spending billions on research.

They may not be known as great innovators but there are some areas where you can find some noteworthy software technology advances detailed in Microsoft patents.

I do not know how these non trivial patents apply to Linux though, that is not an area I have delved into.

Selling Out (3, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383865)

What is selling out providing, except to bolster Microsoft's position that they must have something, else nobody would be dealing with them?

A propoganda step with a little fish (5, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383879)

For those who have never heard of Xandros (which will be a lot of you), it's a commercial distribution descended from Corel's Linux system, funded by the same VCs that funded Ximian, and derived from Debian at one point, although I don't know how much comes from there any longer. They've been around a long time, although for obvious reasons I can't believe they are very successful.

They took the money that Microsoft offered. That's really all the news there is here - that Microsoft found another foundering commercial Linux distribution willing to sign up to the patent covenant and give it publicity. The technical aspects are irrelevant, as they indeed are in the Novell deal. Xandros is a little fish without significant technology to offer. Even in the case of Novell, nobody needed Microsoft's help with virtualization - the only thing Microsoft can offer is the slight performance increment of paravirtualization for Windowsover the full virtualization that is available now.

There's not much to do about Xandros. They aren't a big player, this isn't going to make them into one. We should turn away from them as was the casewith Novell, but it seems a bit silly since most of us didn't even know they existed.

Bruce

More questions than answers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19384385)

Are Xandros planning on distributing GPLv3 code? Has Microsoft just affirmed it is prepared to shield all downstream recipients against infringement claims? I hear Microsoft talking about building bridges which is strange considering the GPL is already a straight road.

I think the wider implications of this are important considering the FSF have essentially put Microsoft on notice with regard to GPLv3. Is Microsoft really spoiling for a fight or are they just upping their bluff?

Tell Xandros what you think (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384471)

Those of you who would like to tell Xandros what you think may do so here [techp.org] . You may also tell Novell here [techp.org] . - Bruce

Question (1)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384915)

Bruce, are you sure that Microsoft is paying Xandros?

When Microsoft did the deal with Novell, the money (mostly) went from Microsoft to Novell. They could spin this as "Novell's patents are worth more" or "Microsoft ships far more units". But Xandros can't have much of a patent portfolio, if any. So if Microsoft is paying them, it's real hard to spin. "Microsoft is paying Xandros so that Microsoft won't sue Xandros's customers." Uh, yeah. Why doesn't Microsoft just not sue, and keep their money?

If Microsoft paid, this would show that Microsoft is having to buy off distros for the distros to put themselves in an untenable position. Essentially, Microsoft is paying them to die.

Andreas Typaldos (CEO of Xandros) is a MORON! (1, Flamebait)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383899)

What the fuck was this guy thinking, to make the same kind of deal despite seeing Novell get blackballed by the community? I mean, even Novell should have known better, but at least they might not have anticipated the response. This guy has no excuse.

And what's even worse (for him) is that this agreement, being after March 28, isn't grandfathered in like the Novell deal. From the article:

The IP assurance deal comes hot on the heels of the release of the fourth, and final, draft of the GNU General Public License Version 3.0 on May 31, which says that distributors that make discriminatory patent deals after March 28 may not convey software under GPLv3.

Re:Andreas Typaldos (CEO of Xandros) is a MORON! (5, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384167)

What the fuck was this guy thinking, to make the same kind of deal despite seeing Novell get blackballed by the community?

The difference is that Xandros is a dieing company and a little cashola from Microsoft keeps them afloat a little longer. And too bad for Xandros, Microsoft doesn't own Linux, SCO does... ;)

Re:Andreas Typaldos (CEO of Xandros) is a MORON! (2, Insightful)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384239)



Novell may be getting "blackballed by the community" but recent earnings reports show that since the Novell/MS deal, Novell has gained share at Red Hat's expense. The "community" of which you speak might be good at "blackballing" but so what? That community doesn't pay the bills. It's not like you guys actually buy any distros or sign up for support contracts anyway, so you can "blackball" whomever you want. It makes no difference since distros aren't seeing any money from you anyway.

Re:Andreas Typaldos (CEO of Xandros) is a MORON! (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384577)

The "community" of which you speak might be good at "blackballing" but so what? That community doesn't pay the bills.

Yeah, but that community does make the software. If the community gets pissed off, Novell has no more product to sell -- hence the GPLv3.

Re:Andreas Typaldos (CEO of Xandros) is a MORON! (2, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384839)

The "community" of which you speak might be good at "blackballing" but so what? That community doesn't pay the bills. It's not like you guys actually buy any distros or sign up for support contracts anyway, so you can "blackball" whomever you want. It makes no difference since distros aren't seeing any money from you anyway.

Don't be ignorant. The "community" typically has day jobs in the IT sector where they get to recommend vendors. By pissing off the community, they've bought themselves a lot of bad word-of-mouth inside companies that they seek to sell cupport contracts to.

I used to recommend SuSE whenever I had the chance. Not any more.

Re:Andreas Typaldos (CEO of Xandros) is a MORON! (1)

HoosierPeschke (887362) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384399)

This could be a challenge thrown down to the GPLv3. They have their big fish (Novell) that won't be affected. Now they have a little fish (that would be subjected to GPLv3) that they can use. If Xandros goes under, no big deal. I see Xandros simply as a tool much like SCO was.

Two down, how many to go? (4, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383907)

With Novell, Microsoft subsidised Novell Suse licenses. With Xandros, Microsoft is doing a deal to provide "patent covenants", which means protection being sued by Microsoft for patent claims that Microsoft has not actually specified.

The game is to knock down the commercial Linux vendors, one by one, and establish them all as clients of Microsoft's "intellectual property". You can bet that the pressure on Red Hat to settle is quite intense. First, their competitors are being subsidised. Second, their clients are being blackmailed.

I've written a more detailed analysis [digitalmajority.org] on this. Microsoft is using software patents to try to take ownership of GNU/Linux and all free software / open source that would be distributed along with it.

Divide and conquer. At the end, the volunteer distros will be left alone to do their work, contributing to the shiny new future, while Microsoft makes sure it gets its 10%.

GPLv3 is being seen as many in the industry as the answer. I think that's wishful thinking. The real answer here is a lawsuit from the government for abuse of monopoly power, where Microsoft is using its monopoly in the desktop area to interfere in the server OS market.

On a related tangent it seems that the Redmond astro-turfing drones are out in force, insulting RMS, calling the GPLv3 all kinds of names, claiming that "freedom" includes the right to abuse other people. Well, drones, suck it. Doesn't matter how much you scream and rant, how much your managers pay you to mess with ISO and push OOXML, Microsoft is either going to learn to "do no evil", or it's going to sink like the Titanic.

Re:Two down, how many to go? (1)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384065)

I agree. If we rant and rave enough, steve Ballmer will run away into the hole in the wall and curl up and die. [/sarcasm]

I do actually agree, but Microsoft isn't going away anytime soon. Face the faccts: Microsoft will be here for some time, and we need to hold out for as long as possible, but there's not really much we can do to make a difference.

Re:Two down, how many to go? (5, Interesting)

pieterh (196118) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384335)

No, ranting and raving won't do a thing.

However no monopoly is an island.

Look at how hard the Microsoft drones have tried to discredit GPLv3 here. There is a steady stream of propaganda: "GPLv3 takes away your rights, RMS is evil, why limit freedom..."

If we - those who are meant to swallow such crud - are worth talking to, then we're not powerless. Microsoft cannot make an infinite number of enemies in a networked world. At some stage it needs friends. And it's got so few left, it now has to buy them.

I'm really waiting for the day when Microsoft looks at Apple's and Google's share prices and realises "being nice could actually make us more money than being evil bastards that everyone hates."

Delusions of grandeur? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384771)

"Look at how hard the Microsoft drones have tried to discredit GPLv3 here."

I suspect that MS has come to the rather obvious conclusion that most people who post on Slashdot are anti-MS and so it would be a waste of time to try to convince them of anything.

Re:Delusions of grandeur? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384899)

I suspect that MS has come to the rather obvious conclusion that most people who post on Slashdot are anti-MS...

I sure haven't noticed that in my years on Slashdot. There's tons of MS supporters on here. They're more visible in some stories than others, depending on the topic. They may also be a minority, but there's still plenty of them.

I think it's a common myth to assume that everyone on Slashdot is a Linux fan. I wish it were so, but it'd definitely not.

Re:Delusions of grandeur? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19385039)

"I think it's a common myth to assume that everyone on Slashdot is a Linux fan."

I wouldn't know, since I never said it.

Re:Two down, how many to go? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19384291)

On a related tangent it seems that the Redmond astro-turfing drones are out in force, insulting RMS

I'm no astro-turfing drone. I just insult RMS because he fucking deserves it [youtube.com] . "GNU slash Linux" is by far the worst in a long, long list of bad potential alternatives for 'Linux', but fuck, it got to Debian. Fucking ruined Debian for me, that did.

I eagerly await the day when I load Slashdot and see the headline "RMS found dead this morning". Because that's the day that we as a community finally start to piece back together the tatters of both our credibility and that of our business model.

Re:Two down, how many to go? (4, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384433)

Bizarre. IHBT, but I'll bite.

My firm makes its money thanks to the GPL. If we did not use that license - for which RMS has earned my eternal gratitude - firms would simply steal our free software without giving anything back. The GPL ensures that we can earn money from our hard work by selling commercial licenses. What kind of business model do you see for "the community" you claim to be part of...?

As for "the tatters of our credibility", you are blaming RMS for a problem that is not there. Free software has never had a higher credibility.

I'll tell you who has lousy credibility... it's ACs who pretend to be part of a community. GNU-slash ruined Debian for you, did it? I'm so sorry for your fragile world.

LOLZ - funny misconception (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19384973)

I'm no astro-turfing drone. [cut] ... Because that's the day that we as a community finally start to piece back together the tatters of both our credibility and that of our business model.

Which shows you to be an astro-turfing drone, since we don't have a business model.

That's what you Microsofties fail to understand. You can't demolish free software using the tactics that you employ against competing businesses, because we're not a business. But it's fun to see you going through the motions anyway. :-)

Re:Two down, how many to go? (1)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384887)

The game is to knock down the commercial Linux vendors, one by one, and establish them all as clients of Microsoft's "intellectual property". You can bet that the pressure on Red Hat to settle is quite intense.
On the other hand, if there's a good-sized boycott against Linux distros that bow to Microsoft, Red Hat may use the situation to their advantage and brand themselves as the resistance.

Suse is NOT involved, at all. (1)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 6 years ago | (#19385021)

That is something basically nobody here gets, but Suse has no involvement in the Microsoft/Novell deal at all. In fact, the name Suse isn't used anymore the distro is called openSUSE nowadays. openSUSE is the "open" Novell development branch, just as Fedora was for Red Hat, except Novell still fully supports openSUSE ('wonder how long). openSUSE is excluded from the deal, only the Novell enterprise distros are part of it. Novell obviously has many patents of it's earlier days as a company, this stuff is what in the deal (think Zen).

Think of this as a heads up, 'cause this whole discussion is more than a bit stupid, if this fact is constantly missed.

Patents? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383929)

According to THIS [nwsource.com] story, patents are not involved.

Unlike the Novell deal, Microsoft isn't licensing any patent rights from New York-based Xandros, according to the company. Nor does the Xandros deal focus on virtualization

Re:Patents? (4, Informative)

Cato (8296) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383971)

Patents are involved, but they are Microsoft's not Xandros', since Xandros is quite a small company that clearly has no patents of interest - that's why it says MS is not licensing patents FROM Xandros. Another part of this article says:

"The agreement with Xandros, to be announced Monday, includes a promise by Microsoft to refrain from pursuing patent claims against users of Xandros software."

Protection racket? (5, Insightful)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 6 years ago | (#19383975)

So in Brooklyn, for example, Fingers and Lucky come into your restaurant one day and demand a weekly payment in return for which nothing bad happens to your business or your cute little kids. See the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeering,quoting [wikipedia.org] definition of Racket, quoting the article: "...best-known is the protection racket, in which criminals demand money from businesses in exchange for the service of "protection" against crimes that the racketeers themselves instigate if unpaid..." So is there a *RICO case here? * RICO (from the same article) "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (18 U.S.C. 1961-1968)...allowed law enforcement to charge a person or group with racketeering, defined as committing multiple violations of certain varieties within a 10 year period.... purpose..."the elimination of the infiltration of organized crime and racketeering into legitimate organizations operating in interstate commerce."

Re:Protection racket? (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384073)

Hell yeah, that's exactly what this. The Microsoft mafia doesn't want to get run out of town.
What does that even mean, MS gives Xandros users Patent protection? From what?! Bullshit, that's what.
Suck it Microsoft. I hope other Linux distros don't succumb to them.
HEY MICROSOFT! -- I use Gentoo... Come and get me fuckers!

Re:Protection racket? (2, Insightful)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384183)

Microsoft is not threatening to commit a crime, so I don't believe it would be racketeering. Threatening "something bad" is just business unless the "something bad" is criminal. Lawyers do it all the time.

Re:Protection racket? (2, Insightful)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384301)

So, notwithstanding my tongue-in-cheek analogy regarding "racketeering," because it's a lawyer who promises not to sue for a non-existent case in return for a settlement fee that's just below the threshold to make it less damaging to settle than to fight, even if would be a sure win, that's morally OK?

Re:Protection racket? (2, Insightful)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384621)

A big business usually can't have morals. First off they are an organization, not a person, and second the shareholders ultimately are most concerned about making money. Laws tend to be the controlling factor in business rather than morals, but the good point there is that citizens can theoritically change laws.

In your example of the lawyer, I personally think that is a good reason to change the law. I think the lawyers should be personally punished for pursuing frivolous lawsuits.

Re:Protection racket? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384527)

They could be committing fraud if they make false claims with respect to the patents they hold and use these clains to extract payments.

Re:Protection racket? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#19385239)

I strongly suspect that they have been granted the patents they claim; they might not withstand challenge, but until they are challenged they would be valid (which is probably why they haven't explicity listed them). As long as their patents are currently valid, I don't think you could claim fraud. I think only the people who paid Microsoft to use these particular patents could claim fraud anyway. Third parties might claim deceptive advertising or something, but if their patents are currently valid then there would not be much of a case.

this doesn't surprise me (1)

Blob Pet (86206) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384033)

My impression of Xandros (soley from visiting their booth at Linuxworld) has always been that it is a distro focused on trying to be compatible with MS in the enterprise environment via some specialized Samba-based utilities. It never seemed to me like they offered anything really compelling, though, and this is obviously a "me-too" tactic to remain relevant.

It's all a big facade (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384055)

As others have said, this is part of Microsoft's FUD program to convince people that Linux venders believe Linux does have major patent vulnerabilities, and are bowing to Microsoft's ownership (although, I thought SCO owned Linux, why isn't Microsoft going after them?). But the real Enterprise Linux players will never fall for this. Red Hat might, but Oracle probably will not, given how much Larry hates Bill. Mandrivel and all the rest are not US based, and probably don't see much threat.

this sounds like (1)

darth_linux (778182) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384069)

the Pope blessing a Jewish wedding. "It was not done of our accord, but we protect you from the condemnation of sin.". /* insert various forms of F*U's here */

Re:this sounds like (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384185)

Linux distros should start granting patent protection to Microsoft, just to fsck with them.
Actually, they would have to grant patent protection to all of the companies they bully and buy out, because MS doesn't have any real innovations anyway.

Not Grandfathered (2, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384149)

March 28th was the Grandfathered cutoff date for the GPL3 as far as I know...interesting...

Hey Sun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19384209)

Here's your big chance! Yank your kernel and everything else you got to GPL3 whenever it is final. Handwriting is on the wall, linux will be fragmenting anyway, into at least three different factions-anti MS but sticking with some linux distro and watching as one after the other caves in to redmond, pro GPL3 and tyring to work around that, or pro GPL2 and hanging with linus tree until it becomes unusable, then they'll be a huge switch again. So you might as well get a big share of the pie and do the right thing and get to be a whitehat on these issues! People run operating systems, not just a kernel. Millions of folks could just as easy use solaris with a freer kernel under GPL3 along with GPL3 userland apps and zero MS crap attached to it as not. Your call!

I was wrong (4, Funny)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384387)

There is a way to profit from open source. Make a Linux distro and then make an agreement with MS. Sweet.

For all those who wanted less distros (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#19384717)

Microsoft is here to save the day. Two down, hundreds to go. Who will be next? Keep tuned.

Re:For all those who wanted less distros (3, Funny)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 6 years ago | (#19385173)

Who will be next? Keep tuned

Hey, can't we all just create derivative distros and have MS pay us to indemnify our users?

Oh, wait... should that have been in 1..2..3?..Profit!!! form?

You're not seeing the upside here... (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 6 years ago | (#19385103)

Microsoft are in effect writing themselves into a corner.

Linux people have been afraid of Microsoft going on a patent rampage for years now. If Microsoft goes around signing contracts with everyone and their dog promising that if they do go on a patent rampage, said signee will be exempt, eventually they'll have done that with enough people that those who will be left that they can sue (in terms of large entities at least) will be effectively nill.

You might come back and say that any contract Microsoft offers isn't worth the paper it's printed on, but I disagree. IANAL, but AFAIK breach of contract is a fairly serious offense in at least some jurisdictions, and not only that, I'm assuming a judge would be fairly sympathetic to any countersuit that signees to the agreement made, in the event that Microsoft did decide to breach it and sue. Then of course there are the PR implications as well.

I'm sure Dr Evil is at times going to continue periodically making threatening noises about patents, but I also very strongly suspect that that is pretty much all he is going to do. Steve will bring a shit storm down upon his head the likes of which he's never before seen if he does decide to actually try it...it's definitely not in his best interests. There would be truly untold amounts of pain and suffering for all concerned...especially including Microsoft.

You are Here -- * (2, Insightful)

handmedowns (628517) | more than 6 years ago | (#19385123)

First they ignore you

then they ridicule you

then they fight you --- You are here

then you win.

Jumping from the bush leagues to "The Show" (4, Insightful)

rbrander (73222) | more than 6 years ago | (#19385133)

Remember how the movie "Bull Durham" emphasized what a dramatic jump it is from the bush leagues to what they called "The Show", the majors?

Xandros and a dozen other of what Mr. Perens posted above as "struggling" Linux distributions are struggling because people like myself (MEPIS man, 3 years) consider their $50 or $100 OS price a Grave Decision and hopscotch through various distros (Mandrake, Lycoris and Linspire for me) and probably settle on a totally free one. Like me.

So Xandros and many others have gone over a decade unable to ever meet payroll for more people that can gather around one conference table, with growth flattening after they reach a base of a few thousand home users, a couple of dozen minor corporate installs and perhaps a couple of larger ones.

Then MS comes along, and it's not the direct cash so much as the mere prospect of a CHANCE of being seen as a Serious Corporate Solution that might, just might now get picked up by a couple or six dozen larger installs in the hundreds of desktops each. Slashdot readers might not be scared of the patent boogeyman but the larger a company is, the more averse it is to the prospect of such risks, however small. To them, a volume purchase price of $25 per desktop is very, very cheap insurance against even spending one legal-staff-week on a lawsuit threat.

So a company like Xandros can "offend" a free software community that has been collectively sending it a few hundred thousand a year at most to grab a shot at the brass ring of joining "The Show" and selling thousands of installs to big corporations. Like a baseball player taking a longshot at "The Show" even if it burns all bridges back to the bush leagues.

You can blame them but you should also see their point of view.

B-bye Xandros (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#19385163)

I liked Xandros...used to like them anyway. It was a nice distro for people who still had one foot in the Windows world. Not sure I even care why they got in bed with Microsoft, they are tainted by the association.

If Microsoft's strategy is to create a clear winner among Linux distributions, they're doing a fine job. Although I'm completely mystified why they would think that was a good idea.

Who knows with Ballmer at the helm.

One other point... (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 6 years ago | (#19385189)

Maybe the reason why Microsoft are doing this is because they know that any distro they touch is going to get immediately shunned by a very large number of Linux users. Hence, it's one way of distroying the body of distributions, one step at a time.
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