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Linspire Signs Patent Pact With MS

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the devil's-sleeping-around dept.

Linux Business 386

RLiegh sends us to an AP article reporting that Linspire has signed a patent deal with Microsoft. The company, which started out life as "Lindows," joins a growing list of patent agreements reached between Microsoft and vendors. Linspire will be granted a license to use True Type Fonts and "various code" that would allow for Linspire users to use voice on Windows Live Messenger as well as the usual patent protection for Linspire's customers. In return, among other things, Linspire will make Microsoft's search engine the default search on PCs shipped with their OS. Kevin Carmony, the CEO for Linspire, approached Microsoft a year and a half ago, according to the article.

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386 comments

Well isn't that special? (5, Insightful)

blcamp (211756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503709)


Allow yourselves to be assimilated, and we will drop all litigation. Hell, we'll even let you call yourselves a "vendor".

Resistance is futile, indeed...

Re:Well isn't that special? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503915)


Tag this article "quislings" :(

Re:Well isn't that special? (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504065)

Agreed.

Or, "Extortion: Microsoft's New Business Model."

Re:Well isn't that special? (4, Insightful)

DuncanE (35734) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503981)

Okay WTF is going on?

I understand that these kind of small Linux vendors need to make money, but why are they signing up to this?

I can only think its cold hard cash talking. Both Linspire and Xandros have just signed their death warrants (Novell at least has other options).

Begun the Microsoft (Clone) wars has.

Its because they can't attack Ubuntu directly ... (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504701)

  1. Ubuntu and Lindows have a deal regarding "click-n-run", etc., and that future Lindows distros will use Ubuntu as the base.
  2. Microsoft can't attack Ubuntu directly
  3. So Microsoft attacks their partner.
No, there's no "... PROFIT ..." - except for Microsoft.

Of red hats and yellow pants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504117)

Come on, we all knew Linshitz was all about violating MS patents and intellectual property in the first place. They were advertising how well LINDOWS runs WINDOWS stuff (which was a lie anyway), and then lost in court.

They probably got smacked down so hard last time, they are afraid their "Lunix distro" scam will be ruined if they get sued again. Imagine all the money the company heads pocket, and they have no pressure to turn a profit. Pretty sweet scam, which is only possible with FOSS.

Re:Well isn't that special? (4, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504139)

Auctioneer: Going once.... going twice..... *bang!* This Soul goes to the man in red suit who just threw his chair.

Re:Well isn't that special? (4, Interesting)

Stocktonian (844758) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504663)

In return, among other things, Linspire will make Microsoft's search engine the default search on PCs shipped with their OS.


As someone who sells Linux ,and only Linux, pre-installed on PCs and laptops across Europe I'm disappointed in this. My company is a Linspire reseller and system builder and we've been awaiting the new Linspire 6.0 for a few months now with baited breath. Linspire 5.0 doesn't work on most of our hardware so we're not selling it at the moment and news like this makes me want to drop it all together.

It'll be a cold day in h*ll before I ship a PC with Microsoft Search as the default.
---
http://www.xephi.co.uk/ [xephi.co.uk] for Linux without MS Search

This will devide the boys from the men (0, Flamebait)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503715)

Thanks to GPLv3 all people who are with Linux because they hate Microsoft will leave. Great move guys. Let's make GPL even stricker, so nobody remains.

RMS, why do you hate Linux so much?

Re:This will devide the boys from the men (4, Funny)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503731)

He is mad that he never got the developer support for Hurd.

Re:This will devide the boys from the men (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503739)

Thanks to GPLv3 all people who are with Linux because they hate Microsoft will leave

Why?

Re:This will devide the boys from the men (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503977)

Because the Kernel will probably stay GPL2, and they will want GPL3?

Wait, his argument was that they didn't like GPL3...

I think the OP has a few screw loose, or missing.

Re:This will devide the boys from the men (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503757)

RMS, why do you hate Linux so much?


Because Linus caught the FSF sleeping on the kernel work and showed the world that building a world-class OS kernel just isn't that hard?

I want in! (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503721)

Okay. That does it. I want in. Where do I sign up for the free Microsoft cash?

Re:I want in! (3, Funny)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503819)

Easy: Start your own Distro.

Re:I want in! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504413)

1. Start your own Distro.
2. ???
3. Profit?

Wow, I wish I had done that 10 years ago. I'd be rich!

The LInux business community... (4, Interesting)

Recovering Hater (833107) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503729)

...continues to hang itself. At least we still have Debian. Even though its derivatives will probably all sell out.

Re:The LInux business community... (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503771)

At least we still have Debian. Even though its derivatives will probably all sell out

Even Ubuntu? I think you are wrong, but we will see, won't we.

Re:The LInux business community... (1)

Spudds (860292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504441)

I agree with the parent. The reason why ubuntu won't sell out is because it was started and is being maintained by a billionaire.

Re:The LInux business community... (5, Informative)

Stocktonian (844758) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504823)

Not to mention that Canonical is based in Europe where Microsoft's patents are currently worthless.

Re:The LInux business community... (3, Interesting)

sjaaklaan.com (1109147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504593)

I think a few months back Ubuntu announced they would work together with Linspire on technology and new distributions...

Re:The LInux business community... (2)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504147)

The LInux business community...continues to hang itself. At least we still have Debian.

Cross-licensing in business is the norm and, if, like Linspire, you want a piece of home market, some accommodation with reality, the proprietary DVD codec, Windows 95% share, etc., is necessary.

Re:The LInux business community... (0)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504439)

Cross-licensing in business is the norm and, if, like Linspire, you want a piece of home market, some accommodation with reality, the proprietary DVD codec, Windows 95% share, etc., is necessary.
Cross licensing is one thing, submitting to Microsoft's demands when they claim Linux violates 237 unnamed patents is hanging yourself (and other Linux distributors). Until somebody (probably a group of distributors) stands up to Microsoft, MS can make whatever claims they want to scare people into sticking with Windows. Plus I suspect the list of distributions who would have a legal leg to stand on against Microsofts claims gets smaller every time one makes such a deal with Microsoft.

Re:The LInux business community... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504527)

Uhm...Redhat/Fedora, Mandriva, Slackware, Yellowdog, Devil, Arch...

O rly? (5, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503733)

Linspire will make Microsoft's search engine the default search on PCs shipped with their OS.
So that'll increase MS's total by 10 units? Why even make this deal?

Re:O rly? (3, Insightful)

denominateur (194939) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503967)

I'm guessing the point is that Microsoft will have a growing list of vendors who agree that perhaps patents are being violated, thereby justifying their litigation action if any is going to occur.

Re:O rly? (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504081)

From an initial search engine userbase of 5. That's trebled it!

Re:O rly? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504133)

PR is priceless. Another press release stating 'Another distro signs up for patent protection with Microsoft' is just another accomplishment under the belt for MS and another step towards this being the norm. Doesn't matter if they lose a little occasionally to make the big boys roll over.

Is this really that bad of a situation? (3, Insightful)

Alethes (533985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503737)

I don't mean to sound ignorant or naive, but isn't this just what businesses do? All of the distros that have done this are really more concerned about the bottom line than freedom, right? So let them do their thing, maybe get some people and companies to switch to Linux (Which is a Good Thing) and the rest of us will use whatever distro we want regardless of patents and Microsoft, right?

Re:Is this really that bad of a situation? (4, Interesting)

denominateur (194939) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503839)

The problem is that a lot of the software we use on a daily basis is largely copyrighted by these businesses in addition to the thousands of developers that have contributed code. Most of the nuts and bolts of a linux distro, including a lot of the kernel, came from redhat developers. As for the desktop, GNOME has a lot of contributions from Novell programmers. KDE is almost entirely Trolltech's child and so on. So in case any patent litigator has valid (in legal terms, we all know how much we agree with software patents) claims in any of these pieces of software, the community at large will be forced to rewrite large portions unless these copyright owners transfer everything to GPL3.

Re:Is this really that bad of a situation? (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504123)

You seem to have a bad understanding of the difference between the meanings of copyright and license.

Hint: all the contributors to, say, the linux kernel, keep the copyright to their code, but agree to license it under the GPL v2.

Re:Is this really that bad of a situation? (2, Insightful)

denominateur (194939) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504293)

Maybe I should have worded it differently. In order for the GPL3 patent protection to be effective all copyright holders must agree to relicense their contributions to GPL3 (unless the copyright notice states specifically that any derivative work can be licensed under GPL2 or later, which is true in most cases, thereby making it possible for other people to repackage and rerelease under GPL3 as much as I unerstand)

e.g from the template header for GPL software: This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

So any of the parts of, say, the linux kernel, copyrighted by Novell, are exempt from downstream patent protection unless either above clause is part of the license (in which case the parts can be forked and relicensed) or Novell specifically agrees to relicense to GPL3.

Re:Is this really that bad of a situation? (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504513)

The GPL is not a magic wand against patents: the provisions on v3 said, last time I checked, something to the tune of "you can't use this code in patent wars", but it can't affect the situation of original code that another company states is infringing on some patent. In this case, the code has to be redone, or the suit won, GPL or not.

That assumes:
-that patent laws apply
-that the trial is actually done: apart from SCO, I don't see other companies doing this.

Even if they do business with MS, I doubt Linspire or Novell actually want to start patent trials against other parts of the Open Source / Free Software community.

Re:Is this really that bad of a situation? (3, Interesting)

denominateur (194939) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504733)

I realise that, I was specifically referring to section 11 of the current draft. If the Novell/Linspire/Xandros deals include licenses to Microsoft patents, relicensing to GPL3 will extend that patent license downstream to all users of said software, thereby protecting them from any patent claims that Microsoft makes. Of course the enforcability of this third-party downstream patent claim protection is something that will be tested in court. Of course I'm not trained in the legal profession and I'm just trying to understand this whole conundrum for myself. Since the Novell deal essentially grants Novell a license to sublicense Microsoft patents to its users, the following clause will extend this sublicensing to all users of Novell's contributions, irrespective of their status as direct Novell customers.

From the current GPL3 draft, section 11:
A contributor's "essential patent claims" are all patent claims owned or controlled by the contributor, whether already acquired or hereafter acquired, that would be infringed by some manner, permitted by this License, of making, using, or selling its contributor version, but do not include claims that would be infringed only as a consequence of further modification of the contributor version. For purposes of this definition, "control" includes the right to grant patent sublicenses in a manner consistent with the requirements of this License.

Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor's essential patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its contributor version.

Re:Is this really that bad of a situation? (1)

ColeonyxOnline (966334) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504535)

The problem is that a lot of the software we use on a daily basis is largely copyrighted by these businesses
You might be confusion copyright with patents. This is a quote from the Wikipedia about copyright [wikipedia.org]

Copyright law covers only the form or manner in which ideas or information have been manifested, the "form of material expression". It is not designed or intended to cover the actual idea, concepts, facts, styles, or techniques which may be embodied in or represented by the copyright work.
Only two countries were listed on the Wikipedia as having Software Patents [wikipedia.org] , and these were the US and the UK. Therefore unless a disto (or a company that does software development) is afraid of being sued in one of these two countries, it shouldn't worry about it.

Re:Is this really that bad of a situation? NAIVE (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503881)

The problem is, Microsft have a long tradition of squwelching the little guy. Some might point to the rapid pace that this is happening, and guesstimate this is an undermining tactic.

I'd have understood a normal business ideology more if this happened before Vista was out of the gates (woe, woe, woe the puns!). Besides which, I understand most of the Linux resellers were just making a profit, if at all. Not exactly the up and coming upstart that is absorbed for new technology.

Speckulartavurlay, Vista is either going really strong, or is a flop. The negative responses I've heard from pro-Windows (they think the problem is, that Macs is too expensive) non-tech leaning associates it would be the latter. [I'm a taxi driver, not in IT so possess few techie associates. Besides it just one data point. I have others but none are concrete.)

Wrong --Re:Is this really that bad of a situation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503921)

Microsoft will snake in these people with patent deals, then litigate against all who've not made these deals and use the licensing deals it has formed as leverage in the lawsuit. Every one who makes a deal with Microsoft is hurting the rest of us because they are now mere pawns for Microsoft to use to squash Linux and the GPL altogether. We haven't learned a thing from Microsoft and Apple, have we? The only reason any Microsoft applications runs on Apple is so that transitioning to Microsoft will be easier. Microsoft only looks out for Microsoft and they've made their position clear about Linux and about the GPL and nothing they do or say from now on will change that. Patents are extortion tools and they're using this extortion on Linux companies so that those who become part of the Microsoft gang will make Microsoft look better when the go after those evil Linux companies who disregard their patents. Nothing good can come from these deals.

That's how they've always done business (4, Interesting)

Puls4r (724907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503761)

This is how Microsoft has always done business. From Internet Explorer to Media Player on down the list, bundling the software or having it as a "default" is a very very powerful tool.

For instance, most companies lock down their computers. I can't even install quick time on ours - which means that unless it works with windows media, I don't visit the website. Many websites know that - so they don't use Quicktime formats. It's a neverending circle.

If I were google, I'd be thinking about doing the same thing in reverse. Get your office suite working and then begin package it free on every computer manufacturer that you can negotiate with.

Re:That's how they've always done business (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503861)

No no no!

I'd rather have distributions and programmers choose google as default because it's good.

What MS does now is saying: "We know other search options are better, that's why we pay you to make our's default".

Re:That's how they've always done business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504419)

Google pays firefox so that the default search provider is google! The value of this is somewhere between $50 to $72 million dollars. There have been many articles on slashdot about this.

Re:That's how they've always done business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503957)

Why does your company need you to access multimedia? They don't, it's their equipment, their resources, and they pay for your time. Do what you like at home, company stuff is a tool to do your job.

"Clone Product"? (1)

SpringRevolt (1046) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503783)

If this agreement contains the same "Clone Product" clause that Microsoft inserted into the Novell deal, then this deal is also practically useless (for Linspire customers). Microsoft thinks that pretty much most of "Linux" is a clone (they are careful to blur the distinction of the kernel (monitor) and the whole OS)....

Re:"Clone Product"? (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504389)

Linux is a clone. Last time I checked, most of the commands were very similar to UNIX.

Re:"Clone Product"? (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504603)

It's actually a clone of a clone (Minix).

-uso.

Re:"Clone Product"? (1)

byolinux (535260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504699)

Don't confuse Linux, which is a kernel, with GNU, which is an operating system and has nothing to do with Minix.

What are you waiting for? (5, Interesting)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503789)

What are linux big shots waiting for now?

Red Hat , Ubuntu please do the rest of the honours. I have no freaking idea what MS has in his pocket that all these companies have agreed to MS terms of so called *patent* protection.Hell yes, i am paranoid but that so only because MS is involved in all of these pacts, i am not at all comfortable taking the bullshit.

Why is Linux community silent on a whole? Only thing they can do is host a site called as showusthecode.com and challenging Mr Balmer. And MS responded by making one more Linux company its ally. Now i am really getting worried about my submitted code as GPL. Is this just me or something is really cooking up at Redmond?

Re:What are you waiting for? (4, Interesting)

Otter Escaping North (945051) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504099)

Why is Linux community silent on a whole?

Good god, man! Are you serious? The Linux community isn't silent about anything. Novell has experienced a backlash, and the CEO had to go so far as to address it publicly. That's not insignificant, in my mind.

Now i am really getting worried about my submitted code as GPL. Is this just me or something is really cooking up at Redmond?

I'm struggling with that, too. Trying to figure out how serious a concern this is. My one solace at the moment is that what we've really got is Microsoft managing to rope Novell, and then two bit players in the game. Xandros and Linspire? Microsoft isn't exactly taking down the titans of the Linux world.

They did get Novell, and I agree that's not small potatoes - but the general opinion really seems to be that as well as getting hosed, Novell also got conned by the boys from Redmond. In the fallout - RedHat specifically rebuffed Microsoft's public offer.

Many people have compared this to the SCO fud-fest that got going - and that actually seems to be a more apt analogy the further we go. A couple of small-frys have caved in -- in their own defence, they're not equipped for a battle with Microsoft, and we must assume these are businessmen and not fanboys.

I expect Microsoft will continue to pick off the small distros, trying to build some PR momentum before training their guns on the larger players in the Linux industry. Not dissimilar to SCO's approach.

What happens then, is what tells us what's really going on here...

Re:What are you waiting for? (1)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504249)

The Linux community isn't silent about anything. Novell has experienced a backlash, and the CEO had to go so far as to address it publicly. That's not insignificant, in my mind.

Does it deters Novell or for that matter did it made any difference? I think not much. Still Xandros and Linspire falling prey following Novell's footsteps. Seriously Novell knew from start it will face a backlash from the community and they know how to cope up and this is what they actually did. In the haste to get profits these rampant business policies of Linux companies is going to disturb the gentle ecosystem balance in the FOSS world for sure.I wish someone can change their greedy mind.

PANIC IN THE HENHOUSE! VISTA DOES NOT SELL! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503809)

There seems to be a great big PANIC at Microsoft, because nobody wants Vista. Vista isn't selling. Microsoft has to do these drastical measures to be able to survive in the future.

Dude, what the FAQ??? (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503815)

All of a sudden how did Microsoft become as respected as Don Corleone? Everybody's signing pact with them for "protection". And they're JUST BLUFFING!!

I feel as if the world's been turned upside down.

Or maybe the true nature of computer businesses has been revealed. In the end, it's just a bunch of greedy b=$)/"%...

Oink oink [google.com] .

Re:Dude, what the FAQ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503873)

In the end, it's just a bunch of greedy b=$)/"%

Uh oh! They whacked Spy der Mann!

Re:Dude, what the FAQ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503895)

That reminds me of a song:

I woke up this morning. [1songlyrics.com]

Is Microsoft the new Styx? (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503827)

I've got dozens of friends and the fun never ends
That is, as long as I'm buying

Never (2, Insightful)

Das Auge (597142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503875)

Every time a Linux-related company signs a deal with Microsoft, it guarantees that I'll never use, or, as a consultant, ever even recommend their products.

Re:Never (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503961)

Rest assured: you are not alone.

Distros that nobody uses. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503877)

Linspire, Xandros? These distros are going to find themselves unable to distribute GPL3 licensed software under the terms of their deals with Microsoft. Who cares?

Re:Distros that nobody uses. (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503989)

Suse wasn't so little, and I was using it till they did the deal with Microsoft.

Re:Distros that nobody uses. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504401)

Linspire, Xandros? These distros are going to find themselves unable to distribute GPL3 licensed software under the terms of their deals with Microsoft. Who cares?

These distros target end-users who don't give a damn about the GPL and never will.

Re:Distros that nobody uses. (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504581)

Linspire, Xandros? These distros are going to find themselves unable to distribute GPL3 licensed software under the terms of their deals with Microsoft. Who cares?

So GPL3 is about not being free to make a choice?

it is a good thing (3, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503885)

This will just separate the wheat from the chaff. when it is all over the GNU/Linux community will be stronger and those that sign on with microsoft will have lost the respect and be shunned by the majority of the Linux community (both developers & users)...

Re:it is a good thing (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504515)

This will just separate the wheat from the chaff.

- and if the chaff is Red Hot and the product Sun's OpenOffice what then?
The linux community has expanded far beyond the ideologues and enthusiasts that populate Slashdot.

Divide and conquer (4, Insightful)

sucker_muts (776572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503889)

Microsoft clearly want to divide and conquer: They know they cannot fight against the movement of open/free software, but they sure can influence companies. As long as there are big distro's as foolisch to walk the path Microsoft lays down for them these kind of agreements will keep coming.

I'm very curious what will happen with these agreements with Novell, Xandros and now Linspire when gpl v3 arrives. And don't forget, the list of companies signing agreements with Microsoft will keep on growing.

But it seems these companies do not handle in the best interest of the community anymore, but only to serve their paying customers.

Greed, anyone?

Re:Divide and conquer (1)

jgardner100 (559892) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503935)

This is all so transparent as to be ridiculous. Patent every idea they have ever thought of, then cross patent with everyone. Guess who they really want to sue. If the patent system was in any way effective then this would all be a waste of time, but if "one click shopping" patents can pass then we are all doomed.

Re:Divide and conquer (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504545)

Microsoft are not the biggest worry when it comes to patents...
Sure they will talk and talk, but they wont actually do anything. They have as much to lose from ridiculous software patents as anyone else. If microsoft start suing people over patents, then a large number of companies will start suing them back, including big companies like ibm and sun, which could have significant impact upon microsoft's products.

The biggest risk, comes from the small companies who have a few patents but no products. They have nothing to lose, you cant sue them because they dont have any products anyway, their entire business is litigation.

Re:Divide and conquer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504055)

The problem is not greed per se, but short-term greed. It's very stupid to sing something like this and then get blocked out of market when GPLv3 arrives. They can afford some time using GPLv2 releases and some patching, but how long?

Are these companies going bankrupt? That's the only reason I see for taking a deal like this knowing that a retaliation is coming.

Or ... Embrace, Extend, Extinguish? (3, Interesting)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504321)

They know they cannot fight against the movement of open/free software, but they sure can influence companies.

YESSSS! Give that customer another mod point.

But rather than trying to "divide and conquer" the FOSS community, I'd suggest it's a new chapter in Microsoft's "embrace, extend, extinguish" strategy. Getting these companies to sign agreements covers the "embrace" part. The "extend" part is, perhaps, the will-not-sue covenant: it offers an extra warm/fuzzy feeling for the customer.

I'm very curious what will happen with these agreements with Novell, Xandros and now Linspire when gpl v3 arrives.

Maybe this is the "extinguish" part. AFAIK, the companies who have signed the agreements could no longer include updated versions of code that has gone to GPL3. So ... either they go out of business or they fork their code. (Hmmm, the latter actually does seem like "divide and conquer" after all.)

Re:Or ... Embrace, Extend, Extinguish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504551)

One thing I had in mind was stuff like fonts and font rendering, mediaplayer, multimedia stuff. If they could get some linux distros licensing some stuff to improve the user's desktop experience out of the box, maybe that distro or cluster of distros "infected" will gain momentum with a group of idiots who don't know don't care about underlying issues and then try to these things as "must-haves" since the other distros made deals and have the features/items/format supports/whatever... Then they can drive that wedge and try to make some proprietary components as core/necessary and then the linux distro is no longer free and still considered functional or complete out of the box unless it contains said hypothetical proprietary components.

I think they should take that iChat demo with Steve Balmer's picture sticking his tongue out licking a horses anus. I dunno after so many years I finally won a convert away from Windows and over to the Mac... So I don't consider myself a good linux evangelist. If I'm paying for a proprietary OS it sure as hell won't be Microsoft (or the crappy 70% failure rate xbox 360)... I started to play with Ubuntu (up until now I've been mostly RedHat)... it's really nice, hopefully it remains true and the tide turns on redmond and all the other mean selfish unkind people and organizations out there and we get a better world someday soon. Maybe "civilization" will melt down and this sort of stuff won't matter any more. Are we really out of the dark ages yet?

If it gets really bad. Maybe someone can employ some of those CIA mind control tricks and implant moles as interns in MS HQ and send them on rampages that take out critical MS employees and renders the company vulnerable enough to impliment a phase 2, or weakened/stunned enough to let the other vultures in the wings tear them to pieces... Maybe someone could make a game out of it, Xbill2? Just day dreaming here. Nothing serious... Go go gadget patent reform...

The more things change... (4, Insightful)

Otter Escaping North (945051) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503899)

I look forward to Microsoft's statement on Friday about how great it is that companies like Linspire are recognizing the need to properly licence Microsoft patents and blah, blah, blah...

Followed, on Monday, I guess, by a statement from Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony that they never admitted to infringing on Microsoft patents and that they never talked about it, and that Linspire infringes on no one's patents, and, and, and ...

I C A R E (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503933)

Can you see how much I care? I use Lindows every day!!!

...oh.. it's called Linspire???

...

I use Linspree every day!!!
..what??

...oh.. i have debian installed... nevermind.

In Soviet US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19503953)

...patent owners pay royalties.

To all of the confused... (0, Flamebait)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503965)

...did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, Microsoft is aware of how shitty their product is, is aware of how bad of a taste their name is leaving in folk's mouths, and is also aware of how attractive Linux is looking to people?

Look. The Linux deveopers that are signing into agreements with Microsoft? They care about money. Just like MS. Exactly like them. Profit, bottom line, whatever. They are no beter than MS, they just know how to take your money without you thinking that's all they are interested in.

I say let them join Microsoft. Let them go down the drain. You folks in the FOSS community seem to be able to make your own stuff....ok, then go out and replace what has been lost?

I know it's "not that easy", but hey according to you all if someone works at a major coporation that makes them inherently stupid and a horrible designer...so get off your chops, start designing, and shut the fuck up.

Re:To all of the confused... (1)

thumostheos (1103749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504363)

Well this is the fucking stupidest comment considering they won't disclose what they think is a patent violation. Where is the list of patents linux violates? They won't disclose it because either a) there aren't any, b) they can easily be debunked or challenged, or c) what you propose, linux developers creating solutions without violations of patents, will happen and they'll be left without anything to bitch about. Instead they pull the old "we have an offer you can't refuse" tactic, and certain companies acquiesce. In case you haven't grasped it yet, this is tantamount to extortion. BTW, linux developers like to code things that are "not that easy". It's the sense of accomplishment that drives most of them, not greed. What are you a Microsoft shill?

Re:To all of the confused... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504555)

I'm not saying Microsoft is doing right. I'm aware that they haven't said what the patents are (and in fact went so far as to say they don't even KNOW) I'm simply saying that these companies that the FOSS community apparently liked so much signed with Microsoft because they stood to make a huge heaping pile of money. So, because of this, my message to the FOSS community is that they should just say "good riddence", seeing as how these companies obviously are not on the same page as the FOSS community. By the way, just because someone speaks out against one company or group does not automatically make them a shill. Beyond that, I never once actually supported Microsoft in my OP. Go back and read it again and stop with the knee jerking; you are gonna have trouble walking someday, seeing as the knee is such a delicate joint.

Hold on just minute (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503979)

I've been wondering actually whether these patent agreements are indeed such a bad thing. It's basically Microsoft agreeing not to sue [insert name of company] and possibly a few sexual favours in return right? I'm asking because I'm actually quite fond of Linux, despite being mainly based in Microsoft tech and I'd actually like Linux to thrive, which with all this patent FUD flying around isn't going to happen.

'Free' in business terms doesn't exist. It makes investors very nervous as how on earth can you base your business success on technology 'no one' built? Successful solutions are bought not simply 'used' - you get sued for using something you didn't buy right?!

Ok, so that is the utter devils advocate coming out there, but my point is that I'm hoping these patent agreements will at least help allay such fears, and investors will consider Linux more seriously - even if this whole campaign by Microsoft utter toss (which I think we all know it is)

Re:Hold on just minute (1)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504189)

These agreements specifically deny certain freedoms developers need and explicitly "clone products" like Samba that actually provide the "interoperability" MS is crowing about. The true aim of these agreements is put Linux users on an (eventual) migration path to Windows while increasing developer fear of being sued. Oh well, yet another Linux vendor I won't be doing business with. Thanks ESR!

Churning 'em out before GPLv3 (2, Interesting)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 7 years ago | (#19503997)

It seems like M$ are trying to get as many of these agreements out as possible before GPLv3 comes out, although I imagine they will have learnt from the Novell deal.

Yeah, It's Star Trek Time :) (0, Troll)

berenixium (920883) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504001)

"We are the Borg. Resistance as you know it is over. We will add your biological and
technological distinctiveness to our own."

"Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant.
You must comply."

Doesn't Apple have the patent for TrueType fonts? (1)

holysin (549880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504007)

Looked through the article and I see no mention of Apple.
------
Under the agreement, Linspire will license Microsoft code related to Voice over Internet Protocol, Windows Media files and TrueType fonts. With the addition of the Microsoft code to Linspire's operating system, users will be able to voice-chat with Windows Live Messenger buddies, watch Windows Media video and audio files on open-source media players, and view and create documents using familiar typefaces.
------
Now, unless I'm mistaken Apple developed the truetype standard in the early 90s or late 80s (Looks like Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] agrees with me.) In which case, how on earth can Mickey-Soft grant anyone rights to use them? Obviously I'm missing something...

As far as the rest: nifty. Does it include HD WMV? And can the users check over the code for "bugs" (sorry, I don't trust microsoft that much when any linux build is concerned)

Re:Doesn't Apple have the patent for TrueType font (1)

pbjones (315127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504083)

IIRC Apple developed them as part of an Apple/MS deal to improve Fonts and Graphics, the Graphics format didn't surface. Sort of a way to not use postscript stuff.

Re:Doesn't Apple have the patent for TrueType font (1)

anarxia (651289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504115)

It says "license Microsoft code related to...". Code != patents, just like standards != implementation.

Guesses on the next Distro to be Assimilated (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504021)

Who do you reakon will be the next distro to enter into a Microsoft deal. So far its been all the ones you'd expect - I suspect we won't be hearing much more of Xandros and Linspire, although I think Novell could still come out unscathed- My guess is Mandriva - although it saddens me to say it - they are having financial troubles etc.

I suspect that microsoft won't bother with the huge number of non-commercial distros so that leaves Red Hat, Ubuntu, mandriva, Turbo Linux and few others.

Mark Shuttleworth said he wouldn't go into any kind of deal like this and I think I believe him. Most of all we've got to hope that Red Hat doesn't, as the largest commercial Linux company it would be disastrous for any possible defence we have against possible patent issues etc

It could be worse... (1, Informative)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504025)

It could be worse...

MS seems to be giving an ok to pretty much any commercial Linux vendor that would have customers needing solid support without any fear from MS or other companies trying to nail them for patents. (Note they are getting MS protection on things not even related to MS, that is pretty big and a broad acceptance.)

However, it could be worse, MS could just have ignored all these companies and pushed MS Linux or even a Linux Subsystem for NT as an alternative for business and left every Linux distributor to fend for themselves in the commericial market. This would be worse...

MS is not the devil anymore, we can't continue to just hate them for the sake of hating them. IBM and DRDOS got screwed by MS, not Linux. Wordperfect and Lotus screwed themselves with horrible products. Novell screwed themselves with horrible client software and high prices.

So yes MS feked up, but not as bad as they could have.

MS helped Apple several times along the way, when they could have went in for the kill. If MS was truly predatory or evil, there would be no Apple, especially when Apple was very dependent on IE and Office.

If this was MS playing the role of borg, they wouldn't even deal with these companies and like I said, would be pushing MS Linux or Linux on NT as the only solution for non-Windows *nix.

Instead MS has a BSD subsystem for NT that is not hardly even marketed other than for integration with the *nix community, and MS is looking for ways to partner with *nix OS vendors they could easily shun and effectively kill off in the corporate/business sectors. But they aren't.

So things could be a lot worse...

(If I'm wrong and MS starts shutting down these companies, I will freely admit it and join everyone here with pitch forks outside Redmond. Until then, MS giving credibility to Linux companies is a good thing.)

Re:It could be worse... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504491)

I think the reason they are not refusing all these companies is because they know that if they refuse the companies will have no choice but to fight the patents. This would lead to disclosure and at the worst case the company concerned would go bust and the community would work round all the patents. In the best case they would all turn out to be obvious or have prior art.

It is worse than you think (5, Insightful)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504647)

The wool has been pulled over your eyes. Microsoft is only doing this to give it's patent claims some validity. Their stance will be "see, Linux must infringe, all of these distributors have signed patent deals with us". This is a divide and conquer move.

But I see this dark cloud with some silver lining. We will know which companies actually are part of the Linux community and which ones are not. So far Redhat and Ubuntu have vocally expressed that they will not do any such deals with Microsoft. There may be others but I am unaware of any at this time.

Actually that would be better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504671)

However, it could be worse, MS could just have ignored all these companies and pushed MS Linux or even a Linux Subsystem for NT as an alternative for business and left every Linux distributor to fend for themselves in the commericial market. This would be worse...

Actually, that would be better! Microsoft can't distribute Linux or Linux-based software without also agreeing that any software patents that apply to it can be used royalty-free by anyone. That's because Microsoft could only distribute Linux in compliance with the GPLv2, which says:

...any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.
That's why Microsoft are not distributing Linux or "embracing and extending" it in their usual way. Instead, they have assimilated other entities to do the dirty work for them. The strategy is to make all Linux-related businesses pay the software patent protection money, and that would fall apart completely if Microsoft were to licence those patents for royalty-free use, which is what would happen if they ever distributed Linux or Linux-based software. (Isn't it great to see yet another example of software patents stimulating innovation?)

Re:It could be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504807)

MS helped Apple several times along the way, when they could have went in for the kill. If MS was truly predatory or evil, there would be no Apple, especially when Apple was very dependent on IE and Office.
Why would Microsoft kill the company that does all their UI research for them?

Re:It could be worse... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504811)

Bad Geek! Turn in your tinfoil hat!

It's like you're not even remotely familiar with MS' history...

Thanks ESR! (3, Informative)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504063)

And guess who just recently joined the board of Linspire who thinks that Linux market share percentage is the only goal worth following? Thanks for another useful contribution to the community, ESR!

BOOOOOOO (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504173)

BOooooooo Microsoft! Knock this crap off! I'm sick of hearing about these shady patent deals.
The only good thing about Microsoft is having a whipping boy for everything that is wrong and evil in software. Hhaha. It balances the universe.
Heaven/Hell, Good/Evil, Force/Darkside, FOSS/Microsoft

Microsoft Continues to Target Linux Friendly OS's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504207)

Microsoft Continues to Target Linux Friendly OS's

Break out the LiLo's, Grub's, and other Loaders that are launching from Windows and watch Microsoft play "Let's Make a Deal". I would view this as an opportunity to cash in folks. I think I could probably create a Linux Distro a month that launches in a window on their XP or Vista OS and give them a way like candy. Microsoft would come sniffing around as sure as hounds after a fox. These folks don't buy out the competition unless they have something to fear. It appears acquisition is their "Tool of Choice" for removal of competition". The only thing is we can create them faster than they can buy them out and no matter what their stock is valued at they don't have that deep of pockets.

Be Safe and Hunt Well...

Linux, It's About Choice, or... (1, Troll)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504327)

Isn't it about choice? You can choose Linspire if you want to have those features in place. Or, you can choose another distro.

Or, are we going to say, "You are free to choose, as long as you don't make these choices?"

Most "Freedom of X" movements turn into extreme hypocrits at the point where someone decides to be exercise free choice in an opposing direction.

You have a choice: disection or poison. (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504741)

Okay, this is typical marketing.
1. Introduce new flexible product at good price
2. guarantee a period of service.
3. change contract (check them out, they all have a line that says "... may change without notice...")
4. claim no one wanted that product everyone wanted the more expensive less flexible choice.
(no I'm not doing the profit "joke")

Corporations change the rules solely to get consumer controlled and paying exhorbent prices. They only give options when no one will buy the "profitable" product. Then reduce/alter the terms of using the product so consumers are buying the "profitable" product anyway. The problem for the corporations isn't that the choices aren't profitable, it is that they aren't profitable enough.

It is this 'choice' we "Freedom of X" movements oppose. Don't try control us, we see and understand what is happening. If Microsoft gives us a choice of using linspire et al without the 'patent violation' threats, I for one would only be suspicious, not condeming of parties involved.

Lots more detail regarding the deal... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504405)

is available here: Linspire, Microsoft in Linux-related deal [desktoplinux.com] . For example... In an email to DesktopLinux, however, Carmony clarified this apparent contradiction in how the Microsoft IP (and "protection" from alleged patent infringement) would be licensed. "We just bundle everything together," he wrote. "Meaning, you can't say 'I want the fonts, but not Windows Media 10,' or 'I want Windows Media 10, but not the IP coverage,' etc. If you want any or all of these new offerings, they ALL will come with Linspire 6.0. If users don't wish these, they can easily uninstall what they don't want from Linspire, or simply use Freespire, which will not include these features. When the press release was written we hadn't fully decided if we wanted to just include it in Linspire or offer a separate SKU. The agreement gives Linspire the freedom to do it either way. We're going to start by just including it with ALL copies of Linspire sold, so they don't really 'purchase a patent SKU,' but just buy Linspire which will include everything."

Doesn't increase Market Share or Market Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504423)

Doesn't increase Market Share or Market Value

This acquisition doesn't increase Market Share or Market Value. Bad move, lets here the CEO's explanation.

Ah, those F/OSS nuts (0, Flamebait)

rockhome (97505) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504445)

So, on one hand, you have Linux vendors making pacts with Microsoft that will wind up having God knows what effects,
and then you have the King of the Nutjobs, Richard Stallman, trying to stamp out your freedom to do anything but
release free software(God forbid I create a closed, embedded system, even though I released the code to the wild).

So is the whole thing falling apart, or is Linus' valiant stand in opposition to GPLv3 the only thing that will keep
the community going? I would guess not, because I would imagine that GPLv4 would include provision that
would not allow a system built on GPLv2 code to even comminucate with anything written under GPLv4.

Re:Ah, those F/OSS nuts (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504651)

So is the whole thing falling apart, or is Linus' valiant stand in opposition to GPLv3

You must oppose GPLv3 if you want true freedom. True freedom is allowing the developer or the user to develop, install, and use what they want on the OS. If you put in provisions that limit this, if I can't run a closed app on an open OS, then I don't have freedom.

Or, is the movement so afraid that thier position is so tenuous that they have to stifle that ability?

Cancel my subscription! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504451)

Well that is another distro we will not be using.

Blackmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19504485)

Isn't this just a subtle form of blackmail? Wave secret list of things we'll sue you for in front of a company.. then offer to settle for just a little bit of something.

I'll tell you what I did (2, Insightful)

ninevoltz (910404) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504495)

As soon as this MS patent bullshit started, I locally mirrored livna and fedora 7 and all the sources. I'm planning to burn several DVDs to put in storage soon too. Now I have a snapshot of Linux "the way it was" and "the way I use it" before Microsoft fucks everything up (as usual). You know, as much as the sky is blue, they are going to fuck it up for everyone, bastards.

Perhaps MS will cause the consolidation we need. (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19504691)

I wonder if this could end up being a good thing for the Linux community, even though it's not what Microsoft intended.

What if Microsoft continues to do deals with various second-tier Linux vendors? And what if Linux users and customers, by and large, shun those vendors? (Ok, Novell wasn't a second-tier vendor but they're already being shunned.)

And what if Red Hat and Canonical continue to refuse to sign, because, y'know, people are actually *using* their Linux distros in large numbers? Could the Linux-using world end up making a concerted effort to consolidate around the non-Microsoft-tainted distros? That would reduce Linux fragmentation and actually end up making Linux a more unified target platform for third-party ISV's.
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