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Red Hat Rejects Microsoft Deals

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the don't-tread-on-this-penguin dept.

Microsoft 287

Kurtz'sKompund passed us an article detailing another loss in Microsoft's licensing push: Red Hat has summarily rejected Redmond's offer of an alliance. The article also touches on Ubuntu's rejection of the same offer, which we discussed this past weekend. ZDNet reports on comments from Mark Shuttleworth and the Red Hat organization, with Shuttleworth stating "Allegations of 'infringement of unspecified patents' carry no weight whatsoever. We don't think they have any legal merit, and they are no incentive for us to work with Microsoft on any of the wonderful things we could do together." Red Hat was even more blunt, stating the organization refused to pay an "innovation tax" to Microsoft. "Red Hat said there would be no such deal. Referring to previous statements distancing itself from Microsoft, the company insisted: 'Red Hat's standpoint has not changed.' The company referenced a statement written when Microsoft revealed it was partnering with Novell, saying that its position remained unaltered. Red Hat director of corporate communications Leigh Day added: 'We continue to believe that open source and the innovation it represents should not be subject to an unsubstantiated tax that lacks transparency.' Many open-source followers argue that Red Hat, as the largest Linux vendor, would have a lot to lose from partnering with Microsoft."

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Thank goodness (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19567791)

Somebody has some sense! I was starting to wonder.

Re:Thank goodness (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19567979)

You say that now, but wait until Microsoft comes back and sues the pants off idiots like RedHat and Mark Shuttleworth. If that doesn't work, they'll come after the users. RedHat is really making a mistake to both protect their users and improve their products by better integrated with Microsoft technologies. Everyone here will probably mod me down for this, but Linux without protection from litigation and proper (and well supported) integration with Microsoft technologies will deter a lot of businesses. The captcha is "insight."

Re:Thank goodness (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568269)

Let me tell you -- Microsoft doesn't "partner" with anyone. Companies that try to make that deal are brought, crushed or otherwise disposed of by Bill G.

Re:Thank goodness (2, Funny)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568363)

Many companies successfully partner with Microsoft.

All it takes is a clear understanding of just who wears the condom, and who bends over and assumes the position.

Re:Thank goodness (2, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568383)

Ok, I'll call your bluff... sues on what grounds?

Microsoft already tried the FUD tactic with the 237 infringing patents in the Department of Defense^W^W^W^WLinux. There's people out there literally begging Microsoft to sue them and MS hasn't yet.

So what, exactly, would the claims be?

Re:Thank goodness (2, Insightful)

1800maxim (702377) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568413)

RH and Shuttleworth idiots? On the contrary, if anyone is an idiot, that would be Novell. How so? For paying protection money against being prosecuted for unknown (and perhaps even made-up) crimes.

What RedHat and Ubuntu are doing is what Novell should have done. This way, there would be no players in bed with MS.

Perhaps Novell thought that this deal will attract any Linux migrator to them, as in "I guess if these guys partner with MS, their products must clearly interoperate with Windows, not like other untrusted types aka RedHat."

Time will show who the winners and who the losers of this are.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568837)

if anyone is an idiot, that would be Novell. How so? For paying protection money against being prosecuted for unknown (and perhaps even made-up) crimes.
Novell were paid $300m. If anyone wants to pay me money in order to be allowed to not sue me or my customers, they are quite welcome to.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

fritsd (924429) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568489)

Protection from litigation does not exist. So that takes care of the "F" of the FUD :-)

Re:Thank goodness (1)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568587)

Get a grip, RedHat aren't on the desktop, there in the server room, talking to AD with openLDAP and if MS start suing companies running RedHat they're going to alienate a lot of BIG companies with a huge XP install base who could move to a Linux desktop, Ubuntu LTS perhaps, Fedora for all it's many wonders is a testbed.

And to return to the more obvious hole in your argument What fscking patents are we talking about here? They have 0 court tested patents that Linux infringes on according to a company that sells an indemnity against patent sewage, who I momentarily forget but they have been referenced here before.

Nope this is just a hollow threat and I don't see RedHat or Ubuntu taking the MS coin in return for a figleaf for MS's marketing trolls

Re:Thank goodness (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568339)

Makes sense and makes sense... How much do you think SCO vs IBM has cost IBM so far, including digging up every document for their fishing expendition, answering all the bullshit motions, writing up all the reasons SCO is wrong, double wrong and still wrong? Think they'll recover a dime when SCO folds? Nope. The coffers are empty if Novell get their motion through, and if not they'll burn on lawyers long before the case has come to a close.

I think the Microsoft deal isn't about whether Microsoft has or doesn't have anything, it's about not being the victim of it. Given the insanely trivial things that can be patented, it'll be a huge undertaking to defend yourself. I doubt you'll find any way to recover those costs, certainly not turn it into a profit. And even if you did, it's a cheap bill for Microsoft for throwing you on the wayside - many companies have ended up there with Microsoft paying them a few bucks while laughing all the way to the bank with the market they captured.

Sooner or later, Microsoft will have to have a show of hands, but not before Novell etc. start getting impatient about "what did we pay for, really? everyone else is doing the same as us, and you're not striking down on them". Until then, FUD beats facts in marketing every day of the week. I bet Novell got a decent deal too for being first, credibility witness and all that. It's the latecomers who say "hmm, maybe we should have a deal too" which they bleed. So yeah, it might make business sense even if the claims are utterly and completely bogus. Sad but true, but they still deserve the flogging they get here.

Re:Thank goodness (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568757)

Makes sense and makes sense... How much do you think SCO vs IBM has cost IBM so far, including digging up every document for their fishing expendition, answering all the bullshit motions, writing up all the reasons SCO is wrong, double wrong and still wrong? Think they'll recover a dime when SCO folds? Nope. The coffers are empty if Novell get their motion through, and if not they'll burn on lawyers long before the case has come to a close.

This is different because:

  1. Microsoft is not SCO. Microsoft is a real company that will not fold over any lawsuits related to this issue.
  2. Microsoft funded SCO. The USDOJ has obviously been bought off but you can only push them so far.
  3. Microsoft claims to know the precise number of patents, where SCO claimed to only have a vague idea of the number of alleged infringements. It is easy to demand that they put up or shut up in court, especially since patents are filed with the USPTO whereas copyright doesn't require any registration.

I think the Microsoft deal isn't about whether Microsoft has or doesn't have anything, it's about not being the victim of it.

That is the only way in which this is similar to the SCO vs. Linux issue.

Sooner or later, Microsoft will have to have a show of hands, but not before Novell etc. start getting impatient about "what did we pay for, really? everyone else is doing the same as us, and you're not striking down on them". Until then, FUD beats facts in marketing every day of the week.

It's not necessary to win in the short term. And in the long term, Linux sells itself.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

opkool (231966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568807)

Looks like Mandriva also told no to Microsoft. See this link [vub.ac.be] for further info.

From that site:

09:32 [ AdamW] sander85: there are no plans to do a deal with microsoft, and that comes from the top (fb)
  (fb is probably François Bancilhon, Mandriva's CEO).


And AdamW is Mandriva's official spokeperson.

Peace!

Re:Thank goodness (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568841)

I have plenty of sense too!

Step 1 create linux distro and get a couple people to use it.
step 2 make a deal with microsoft
step 3 profit!!!!
step 4 close the doors with your all your MS money still in hand because only clueless idiots will still use the linux distro.
step 5 swim in the money you made from microsoft

RH: Pray to the one you will pay!!!! ASDF (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19567799)

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Re:RH: Pray to the one you will pay!!!! ASDF (1, Funny)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568181)

Informative?

I pity the person who gets that in meta moderation.

Re:RH: Pray to the one you will pay!!!! ASDF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568389)

shut up you fucking slashdot parrot...

Frosen Pees (2, Funny)

Mipoti Gusundar (1028156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19567805)

I for one am welcomming ou're red hat, m$ flipiing off overloads!

FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19567811)

FP FAGGOTS

Go Redhat (3, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19567829)

You are David, MS is Goliath, your slingshot is GPL'd, Linus' rocks are... um lost it a bit there.

Re:Go Redhat (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568047)

Didn't IBM make a commercial about this?

Wasn't sling or rock that killed Goliath (2, Insightful)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568159)

.. David killed him with his own sword.

Live by the patent sword.. die by the ... well you get the picture.

Re:Wasn't sling or rock that killed Goliath (2, Funny)

Deagol (323173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568431)

That's not quite how I remember it:

"What say you now, Goliath? Without your hair, you no longer possess your fantastic strength!"

Delilah (2, Funny)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568887)

I believe Delilah has cut out your brains... Samson.

Re:Wasn't sling or rock that killed Goliath (3, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568661)

Live by the patent sword...

Surely: Live by the patent method-and-apparatus-for-inflicting-stabbing-type- wounds-on-your-enemies...?

I ordered a new box with RHEL 4 on it 2-3 days ago (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19567831)

apparently my choice was wise. can trust these people.

Re:I ordered a new box with RHEL 4 on it 2-3 days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568123)

Umm, you do know that RHEL5 has been out for a few months, right?

After using both (well, CentOS) 5 is a massive improvement.

Re:I ordered a new box with RHEL 4 on it 2-3 days (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568353)

apparently my choice was wise. can trust these people.

RedHat is definitely one of the good guys. While Google's Evil-o-meter has been slipping of late, RedHat has consistently been true to their mission. They develop technology that's open and freely available a-la CentOS [centos.org] and have some of the finest hacks around working full time on open stuff. (Alan Cox, et al)

RedHat tends to get dissed around here a bit because they target servers rather than workstation/desktop Linux. They are focused on making money the honorable way, and some people seem to have problems with anybody making money.

But look at their track record. They've consistently been true to the spirit and purpose of the GPL and free or open source software in general, and have been both profitable and successful in doing so. (Hint: Ubuntu is not yet profitable)

Re:I ordered a new box with RHEL 4 on it 2-3 days (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568783)

RedHat tends to get dissed around here a bit because they target servers rather than workstation/desktop Linux. They are focused on making money the honorable way, and some people seem to have problems with anybody making money.

No, they get dissed around here because they used to target workstation/desktop Linux, and many of us served as their beta testers during this period, and then they discontinued the product which we were testing, made the public product deep beta (Fedora gets all the latest bleeding edge stuff, which is fun in some ways, but the truth is revealed by the fact that it has to be in there and working a while before it makes it to RHEL) and told us we should be happy about it.

I am grateful to Redhat's contribution to Open Source, but I don't appreciate the way they handled that situation and so long as there is a better option, I will take it. Luckily, there is.

So... (0, Flamebait)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19567839)

They aren't 100% sell-outs. That's not saying much.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568253)

It's saying that they're willing to stand up to Microsoft's aggressive anti-OSS tactics.

And, as the biggest name in enterprise Linux (correct me if I'm wrong) that says a hell of a lot both to the OSS development and support community as well as the community's growing customer base.

If you support OSS then this is a positive step that can only build confidence in Linux and OSS in general. The alternative would, I'd argue, have been devastating.

I really don't see the reason for your negativity. Did someone at Red Hat murder your family or something?

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568403)

What do you mean by that? In what way are Red Hat "sell-outs"?

Does the fact that Red Hat makes money out of Linux and uses this to plow tons of resources into Free Software projects unnerve you?

Red Hat may take, but they sure as hell pay it back with interest.

Re:So... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568665)

He is just complaining because he wants a free enterpise supported distro without paying anything for it. He thinks ubuntu is the best thing ever but hasnt realized that when shuttleworths seed money runs out Ubuntu is going to look exactly like fedora.

Re:So... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568781)

Enterprise distros are already free for the taking. If he has any problem then it's with application vendors. They're the one's that ultimately determine whether something is "supported". Have a gripe? Talk to Oracle or whomever is the real problem.

It's really time for MS to put up or shut up (2, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19567841)

Show us the patents. Enough said.

Re:It's really time for MS to put up or shut up (1)

3p1ph4ny (835701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568105)

I'm really confused by all of this patent nonsense, but admittedly I've not really made any attempts to understand (or even read TFA).

My question is this: aren't patents on the public record? Aren't things like Ubuntu/Red Hat open source? How hard is it for M$ to say "Look at patent 5,656,565 and lines 1-3,000 of kernel.c. This is a violation of our IP rights."

I have to be misunderstanding something, because if it was really that simple I don't understand why anyone would sign a deal without first having M$ point out what was wrong. Of course, maybe that's why everyone is pissed off... anyone care to enlighten me?

Re:It's really time for MS to put up or shut up (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568219)

It isn't hard. But MS refuses to name the specific patents or lines of infringing code. That's the problem.

Re:It's really time for MS to put up or shut up (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568281)

The deal is retroactive and future immunity from lawsuits alleging infringement on registered innovations, reciprocaly. And it doesn't get anymore specific than that. It's essentially a line in the sand, and the one that is suspected of having less leverage, gets less territory, or pays more. It's not specific because future innovations cannot yet be specified, nor can the situations be specified wherein, in the present, people find each other at each other's throats legally. This is why they make a deal. They promise not to sue. Or, if you're MS, it's more like: you give me your lunch money and I promise I won't beat you up.

Re:It's really time for MS to put up or shut up (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568297)

My question is this: aren't patents on the public record? Aren't things like Ubuntu/Red Hat open source? How hard is it for M$ to say "Look at patent 5,656,565 and lines 1-3,000 of kernel.c. This is a violation of our IP rights."

This is exactly why a lot of people are very suspicious that Microsoft doesn't do this. Instead, they just make vague statements, e.g. "Linux violates x Microsoft patents" and never specify which ones.

Although the patents are public, Microsoft has so many of them, and many of them are so crappy/broad, that it's nearly impossible for anyone to work backwards to find the ones that they're talking about and might, by some stretch of someone's imagination, apply to Linux.

So basically, it's a totally opaque threat, and I'm similarly at a loss as to why anyone would negotiate with them without first demanding to see the goods.

Re:It's really time for MS to put up or shut up (1)

3p1ph4ny (835701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568469)

Okay, thanks for the explanation. I couldn't figure out for the life of me why anyone would actually sign one of these deals... apparently nobody else can either ;-)

Re:It's really time for MS to put up or shut up (5, Interesting)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568623)

aren't patents on the public record?

Yes, they are - as are several million other patents, and you have absolutely no idea what sort of patent you are alledgedly infringing so good luck trying to find the right needle in the haystack.

Aren't things like Ubuntu/Red Hat open source?

Yup, which makes it incredibly easy for any patent holder to find infringing code (these days it really is impossible to write any software without infringing someone's patent - the only thing that protects the propriatory vendors is that closed code is much harder to examine for infringements).

How hard is it for M$ to say "Look at patent 5,656,565 and lines 1-3,000 of kernel.c. This is a violation of our IP rights.

Very easy. However, they have said that they won't disclose which patents are being violated because:
1. The Free software community would be able to discredit the patents (e.g. provide evidence of prior art, show the code isn't infringing, etc).
2. The Free software developers would be able to remove the offending code.

Microsoft doesn't want to licence the patents, they are simply using them as a FUD campaign to scare people away from switching to Linux - if the patents are discredited or the offending code is removed they have lost all their leverage.

To people not in the know, this is perceived as a big risk - if you switch to Linux then MS has threattened to sue you. Of course, to those of us who can see what's going on it's obvious that MS can't possibly sue anyone because:
1. That would involve disclosing the patents.
2. MS doesn't seem at all confident that it's patents are valid since the cited reason for not disclosing them is that they would be discredited.
3. MS themselves will certainly be infringing a large number of patents held by organisations who have a vested interest in Free software (IBM, the Open Invention Network, Sun, etc.) - firing off lawsuits at Free software users will almost certainly invite retaliation from those patent holders.

The patent system is nolonger about protecting your innovations, it's an arms race - everyone is infringing everyone else's patents anyway (since it's practically impossible to produce any code which isn't infringing) and whoever holds the least patents is crushed since they cannot retaliate to any threats. The whole patent system needs to be abolished - it once served a useful purpose, but these days the merits are far outweighed by the abuses.

Re:It's really time for MS to put up or shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568401)

Double click?

And if they did partner... (4, Insightful)

micromuncher (171881) | more than 7 years ago | (#19567891)

... its effectively an admission of guilt. Would anyone sign an agreement saying "I'm guilty of unspecified crimes"?

Re:And if they did partner... (3, Informative)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568161)

others have: Novel, Xandros, Linspire

Re:And if they did partner... (1)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568315)

Which, from a certain point of view, makes Novell, Xandros and Linspire just one rung down the ladder from Microsoft.

Microsoft may be right on this, and they may be wrong. Would it be too much for them to produce evidence to back up their claims before demanding that everybody jumps into bed with them?

Re:And if they did partner... (2, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568693)

others have: Novel, Xandros, Linspire

But in so doing they have gained a lot of bad feeling in the Free software community. And these companies do need the community's support - Red Hat, etc. have their roots in the Free software world and understand this. Novell on the other hand is a well established propriatory software company who has jumped into the Free software world and I don't think they yet fully understand how important it is to not piss off the community.

Re:And if they did partner... (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568821)

It seems more like an Alford plea to me. NOVL/etc pay the money without admitting any wrongdoing, and MS doesn't look any further. Just to play devil's advocate, how many of the tech companies out there that x-license patents bother to list each and every one? I know the "FUD" angle is being played here against community Linux, though.

Congratulating Red Hat on not licensing with MS, however, is like congratulating them on not cutting their own throat. They're probably the closest thing out there to corporate subsidized "community Linux" out there (there's Ubuntu and Debian, but for the most part they're in a strictly "downstream" role) and the backlash from something like this would kill them dead. The average person who purchases SuSE/Linspire/Xandros in a box probably doesn't give a shit about a MS cross license; the average person purchasing RHEL more than likely does.

Anyone want to take bets on the next one to give in? So far, Ubuntu and Red Hat have ruled out "partnership", Adam Williamson mentioned on Distrowatch that Mandriva would give an official statement to the same extent shortly, Debian's obviously out, and most of the "techie" distros are probably beneath MS's radar.

Two camps? (4, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19567901)

While the GPL is the GPL is the GPL, I wonder if this will lead to any kind of animosity between, say, RH and SuSE?

Even worse (serious question), will this lead to less interoperability between those who refuse MSFT and those who sold their souls (IMHO)? Sure, YaST vs. YUM type stuff will always be present, but what of deeper items, say things that would otherwise wind up being incorporated in kernel.org? I wish I had a better way to articulate the question ATM, but the jist is that maybe the whole 'divide and conquer' plan may work more than most folks think it will, in that either by necessity of 'patent deals' or by necessity of what-have-you, the coders @ Novell won't or can't spread their improvements to RH and vice-versa.

IMHO, that is a greater danger than any lawsuit blustering and posturing that has been coming out of Redmond.

/P

Re:Two camps? (1)

crAckZ (1098479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568005)

mod parent up. this is a great question. being a linux programmer i wouldnt want my software being a part of the ones that make deals with M$. i do write for windows if a client askes but that is a contract and money. if i am donating my code it will not go to those that will absorb it then make money off of it. my open source is for the community that i respect; plain and simple.

Re:Two camps? (2, Informative)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568761)

being a linux programmer i wouldnt want my software being a part of the ones that make deals with M$

You can word the licence you release under however you want, you can even put in a clause specifically excluding any distributor who has made a deal with MS. However, then the licence ceases to be Free.

It seems that you should look at a more generic licence which still allows the 4 freedoms but is also incompatible with aspects of these deals. For example, the GPL 3 looks like it will be incompatible with this sort of patent protection deal, since it requires any patent protection to be extended to *all* users of the software, not just a small subset.

What you're asking is ... (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568013)

will there be any issues with patches submitted by the pro-Microsoft segment with regard to copyrights or patents or such?

Will the pro-Linux segment refuse such?

Well, that's part of what the GPL v3 is supposed to address. Just in case.

Re:Two camps? (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568119)

"Here here!"

I've been trying to articulate the same thing because I used to think it was about using litigation to bury distros or at least key clean-room implementations of their products.

It's unclear how Redmond will use the agreements to trigger a figurative bomb or _what_ the bomb will do.

Re:Two camps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568183)

im pritty sure apt-get killed yast and yum and long time ago

Mmm... (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568621)

No, yum and apt-get are cross-package technology now. But they typically stay with a distro (yum for fedora-likes, apt for debian-likes). If you've used one, you're halfway to figuring the other out.

Probably drivers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568205)

We have all been frustrated by lack of driver support for Linux. I suspect that MS will wind up using partnerships with hardware vendors to write proprietary Linux hardware drivers, release them binary-only and compile them into the kernels of their minion-distributions by default, thus giving the sell-out distros an functional advantage over the pure distros.

Furthermore, users of the pure distros won't be able to swipe or reverse-engineer the binaries without being at risk for infringement lawsuits.

The end result will be a market-perception of superior functionality and legal saftey when using Linux distributions that include a Microsoft tax.

Re:Probably drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568527)

Mod parent +5: Extremely frightening.

Re:Two camps? (1)

compm375 (847701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568397)

I don't see how interoperability issues could happen as long as the distros keep distributing everything under the GPL.
From GPL 2:

7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.
Please correct me if I am wrong but it seems that if MS gives some distros the right to implement certain features that would violate MS patents, the distros wouldn't actually be allowed to implement them without violating GPL.

Re:Two camps? (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568849)

There's no rights given back or forth; it's strictly a promise not to inquire or initiate legal action. Not to mention that the FSF or any other party taking action against these companies on behalf of GPLv2 violations undercuts half the case for GPLv3.

Driving up the value of Free (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568611)

All MS can accomplish by these games is to drive up the value of the truly Free distros. Their partners are tainted. For the most part these distros are barely twitching.

By making Free distros more scarce they become more consolidated and supportable by the community. They can keep this up until eventually the remainder are too valuable for them to buy.

This strategy needs an end game to be effective, and I don't see it.

How many of you... (5, Funny)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19567963)

when you read this, had this image of Gates, dressed as Darth Vader with the breathing, holding out his hand to Red Hat (or whomever), and saying, "Come with me to the Dark Side and we can rule together!"

No? I guess it's just me.

Or what about, "Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated." No?

Never mind.

Re:How many of you... (2, Funny)

CautionaryX (1061226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568117)

That's funny, all I heard was a loud "NOOOOOOOOOO!".

Re:How many of you... (3, Funny)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568199)

I always pictured Gates as the Emperor and Ballmer as Vader standing over a small company. As the small company person nurses a wound from a chair expertly thrown at it, Emperor Gates steps in front of Darth Ballmer and says: "Throw yours at him. Let your unethical business instinct fill your soul. Together, we can monopolize the software!"

so... (2, Funny)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568257)

So Bill Gates ... is ... Linus' ... Father?

Re:How many of you... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568259)

If it makes you feel better, I thought of that scene in Ice Pirates where the good guys get captured and made into "eunuch" servants, only they aren't actually castrated but merely threatened with a terrible-looking steel jaw castrator machine and told to behave (by the buxom villainess who had her own reasons for not wanting them snipped).

Re:How many of you... (1)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568267)

"Luke... I patented your ideas!"

"NO! That's not true! That's impossible!"

Re:How many of you... (0)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568385)

MS: "Bitch Gimme the money!" *slap* RH: *BANG* "Goodbye G-Money".

Re:How many of you... (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568477)

I had a vision of Jabba the Hutt from Return of the Jedi saying "There will be no bargain" personally!

Re:How many of you... (1)

purld (1096313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568897)

I did. But it was the image of a Vogon guard shouting "Resistance is useless!!!!" to a bunch of prisoners. Oh wait...!

Glad (5, Insightful)

spungo (729241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19567971)

I'm glad that there are still F/OSS companies out there that value common sense over greed.

Re:Glad (1)

iAlta (1098077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568103)

Agree, Red Hat has said before that they won't sell their souls, so I wasn't really surprised.

Re:Glad (1)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568753)

It's not an either or, enlightened self interest (a better form of greed) ensures you don't piss off your developers and submitting to a racketeer is never a wise course of action, they'll just keep coming back for more

This is a war (5, Funny)

cloudkiller (877302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568031)

It looks like the MS & Linux war is finally starting to take shape. At least now I have a side to stand on. Someone get me my red hat and a cup of ubuntu, I've got partitions to make.

Re:This is a war (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568465)

So what, in your military analogy, do you think is going to happen to the BSDs in all this?

Re:This is a war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568689)

They'll be on Microsoft's side, as always.

...
Wait, sorry, that's the BSoDs I was thinking about.

Re:This is a war (1)

xaositects (786749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568705)

The daemons will come out to pick the bones of the dead later.

Bye-bye Red Hat (-1, Troll)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568055)

With yet another stunningly bad decision, Red Hat puts the nails in its own coffin. I own a business that's all MS right now (plus certain important proprietary software). If I need to/want to introduce a Linux server one day, am I going to look at a version that has MS's blessing, and will work with my stuff, or would I look at a product that has no kind of guarantees that it'll work with my existing systems? Hmmm... Tough decision there.

Red Hat is going to lose some serious credibility down the line when/if more people have to make similar decisions. I have little to no reason to even *consider* software that is going to give me extra integration headaches, and I can't believe that I'm alone in my thinking.

Re:Bye-bye Red Hat (2, Insightful)

curious.corn (167387) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568173)

I'm italian, sicilian no less, and I know what mafia means. This Microsoft thing sounds like pizzo, a tip given to avoid having your stuff burnt to the ground or getting shot in the back while walking back home... fsck it...

Re:Bye-bye Red Hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568197)

I don't believe the "X Linux company" and Microsoft deals have anything to do with integration. More of a "We promise not to sue you" kinda thing. As for integration, I've never had a problem with Linux in a production environment. Windows on the other hand... "I have to take the system down and reboot just to patch an low priority program?"

I would take a lower paying job that's a linux or solaris house anyday over someplace that's 100% windows. Just the stress and grey hair wouldn't be worth any money. Fixing a real problem is one thing, fixing 100 dumb things that shouldn't have existed is another.

Re:Bye-bye Red Hat (4, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568209)

You said it yourself you are a all MS business(owned), I doubt you have any intention of running Linux
  so why would RedHat care what you do.

The bigger problem if you ever did decide to run linux is that the MS blessed distro's are as good
as dead. Go ahead and ask for some help using your new blessed linspire distro on here and see where it
get's you.

Re:Bye-bye Red Hat (2, Insightful)

splict (1024037) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568289)

Whether on purpose or not I'm not sure, but you are definitely missing the point. As far as I know, Red Hat, Ubuntu, and Mandriva all see interoperability as a good thing. No one is fighting that. And if you can find something that says otherwise I would be happy to see it.
What you are suggesting is that these companies should pay money to a competitor for (so far) baseless claims and admit a weakened and reliant position when none in fact has been shown to exist - all in order to possibly get some help with interoperability. Interoperability which, if Microsoft took the attitudes these companies did, would already be there. You are thinking very short term. If Microsoft got its way, you wouldn't have a Linux server option down the road. Good luck with your business...

Re:Bye-bye Red Hat (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568493)

You are not alone. There are lots of misinformed people thinking like you do.

I think I speak for the entire OSS community... (3, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568543)

...when I say, "We'll really miss the non-business you did with us, all the expanded capabilities that our non-installed software failed to provide to your business that didn't need them anyway."

Maybe, one day, long in the future, you'll see fit not to install us again. Until then though, we'll have to accept that we had a good long non-run, and leave it at that.

Re:Bye-bye Red Hat (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568817)

With yet another stunningly bad decision, Red Hat puts the nails in its own coffin. I own a business that's all MS right now (plus certain important proprietary software).

How wonderful for you.

Red Hat is going to lose some serious credibility down the line when/if more people have to make similar decisions.

And you just lost all credibility with your FUD.

I have little to no reason to even *consider* software that is going to give me extra integration headaches, and I can't believe that I'm alone in my thinking.

I have every reason to support Free and Open Source software, and no reason to go with Microsoft across any business.

A Microsoft Deal is More Than Just Patents (5, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568091)

A lot of people have made a lot of the Novell/Microsoft deal because of patents that open source software supposedly infringes. However, once you buy in with Microsoft on one of these deals, it's a whole lot more.

I discovered a few weeks ago that as part of the Novell deal, and Microsoft selling SLES coupons supposedly, SLES actually has to be a subserviant within a Windows domain controller set up. Ergo, SLES can quite easily be replaced with Windows at a later date without anyone being any the wiser. Presumably, when this deal runs out in five years Microsoft will have hoped that they'll have replaced all the SLES and Netware servers with Windows, replaced a lot of Red Hat servers with SLES replaced with Windows, and Novell will be no more.

That deal Novell struck will do quite a bit of damage if any more like it are agreed.

Re:A Microsoft Deal is More Than Just Patents (0)

thewiz (24994) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568529)

I agree with you but I also have a deeper concern:

Could Microsoft be intending to use these relationships to inject "proprietary" code into Linux distros so that they can sue at some point in the future?

Re:A Microsoft Deal is More Than Just Patents (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568537)

You need to read up on Samba version 4. SLES (or any Linux) can be either an Active Directory client or a server. Linux can just as easily replace Windows servers without anyone being any the wiser. It works both ways.

Microsoft's strategy... (4, Interesting)

pieterh (196118) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568149)

... divide the Linux community, starting with the smallest weakest firms. Build up a credible patent claim against Linux (where "credible" means "incredible but nonetheless believable if you are borderline insane, as many firms are"). Attack Red Hat, and avoid annoying IBM directly.

Microsoft is doing a classic patent ambush on the Linux community, and it's significant. We're not seeing an attach on Linux, but on the Linux market. Microsoft wants to own the market.

I'd be surprised if MS actually threatened any FOSS developers, and I'd expect eventually MS to start supporting some free software projects, and eventually even the GPL, if it does get its planned iron grip on the Linux market via its unnamed patents. Free software is so much cheaper to build than the classic kind. Eventually, MS will port its stack of patent-protected lock-in technologies to a BSD or Linux core.

The weakness in Microsoft's armour is those unnamed patents. If they were to be named, they would be disarmed, and Microsoft's entire gambit would fail. In the US there is no need to detail a patent infringement claim. In Europe, Microsoft's claims come very close to illegal unfair competition; IIRC there is a clause in the European Patent Convention that says a claim of patent infringement must be backed by details of what patents are concerned.

Time to vote with our wallet....when we can..... (5, Insightful)

budword (680846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568171)

I don't buy support myself, but I do quite a bit of small time consulting for individuals and a few small businesses, and I'll be recommending RedHat without reservation. Ubuntu and Mandriva also, for those without a need for a distro certified to work with Oracle or similar product. Vote with your wallet, when you can folks. Novell drank the cool aid, RedHat, Ubuntu, and Mandriva turned down millions simply to avoid pissing us off, time to reward them for it, when we can.

Re:Time to vote with our wallet....when we can.... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568801)

Vote with our wallets? Ah, God bless capitalism! But seriously, I pirate Windows and legally download Linux for free, so I guess I'm doing my part...

Licenced to steal (0, Offtopic)

zakeria (1031430) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568243)

I never payed for my XP software so why the hell should I pay for something that I don't have to steal, it's freedom to steal and they are trying to steal from that idea!

Re:Licenced to steal (4, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568443)

"I never payed for my XP software"

Lord Vader (er, Ballmer) sends you his regards.

If you think that pirating XP is "sticking it to the man" you're wrong. Microsoft _depends_ on you doing that, because for every illegitimate copy of Windows installed, it means one less "alternative" installed.

You don't think that WGA will ever become bulletproof, do you? It won't, ever, despite Steve Ballmer's bombastic assertions that it will.

"Although about three million computers get sold every year in China, people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though. And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

Bill Gates - about 9 years ago.

--
BMO

Here come the Borg, bitches! (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568247)

Its called........discovery.

Its just like the Borg Tractor beam, the thing that stops you in your tracks while they scan you for weaknesses.

Microsoft's lawyers are just now downing the protein shakes and raw beef, getting ready to be let out of their cages.

I need to stock up on popcorn for this......

$50M, and the best lawyers anywhere?

I'm channeling Q asking Picard: "Do you really think you know what you are doing? They are relentless!"

Re:Here come the Borg, bitches! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568909)

???

Microsoft can't really sue anyone without putting their cards on the table. Even if
they try to do discovery in a secretive way, someone more likely than not will spill
the beans.

At that point, triage can be done.

Not Suprising (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568283)

It's not too suprising, although Microsoft seem to have had a few victories recently these are very small. Who're Novell, Xandros and Linspire anyway? Small fry really (with the possible exception of Novell, who've been badly burnt by the whole experience). Also remember SCO managed to sell a few of its spurious 'licenses' [lwn.net] before IBM made mince meat of them in court. Their claims were even more daft than those made by Microsoft (remember copyright vs. patents).

As Red Hat pointed out in their excellently thought-out advert [youtube.com] :

  1. First they ignore you
  2. Then they laugh at you
  3. Then they fight you
  4. Then you win
  5. ...
  6. Profit!

Ok, so I added the profit bit: no /. list should be without it. :)

Re:Not Suprising (1)

spungo (729241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568377)

Errm... wasn't that, like, Gandhi who said that? (Apart from the profit bit).

Gandhi had two versions of that diddy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19568699)

Gandhi had a second version at the ready in case Japan won WW2:

1. First they march you through several hundred miles of tropical jungle

2. Then they shoot you

3. Then they disembowel you

4. Then you lose

Well finally (3, Funny)

el cisne (135112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568303)

Well freeking finally; Someone at least managed to have a pair;
A pair of cerebral lobes, of course, what were you thinking!!!
Oh, THOSE cerebral lobes....never mind....I guess those would work also

hghggf (1)

Ads are broken (718513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568713)

gfgfgdf

Sue me Microsoft (2)

cyborg_zx (893396) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568755)

What utter FUD. One does not sue the users of patent infringing software - one sues the makers of it. I'd like to see Microsoft try and sue me for using Ubuntu in a country which doesn't even acknowledge software patents. What bollocks.

Not smart. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568759)

This just isn't very smart. A flat out denial of anything doesn't do much but solidify what people already know. Redhat, with it's size, popularity and user base could have leveraged a deal that protect all users of GPLed software from lawsuits by Microsoft over disputed IP if they didn't place the IP in the software and stopped distributing that software once it was discovered to violate anything.

This could have done more to further open-source software and protect "users" then anything else. It would have ceased most all of the FUD MS could throw if they would agree to a deal protecting all users. Flat out rejections instead of deliberate negotiations isn't what we need. Of course rejecting the type of deals that would only protect a few people is understandable. My understanding is there was no attempt to change the deal just a refusal to do business with a company like Microsoft. RedHat didn't even attempt to take the deal further then reject it when that wasn't possible. It would be ideal if they could have gotten the protection from lawsuits to extend to any user of OSS software and have any enforcement efforts go directly towards the people and organizations that placed the conflicted IP in the software.

This shows where the problem really is and why clauses like the anti-Novell agreement clause is really in the GPLv3. Well, it goes a long way to explain it anyways.
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