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Mandriva Says No to Microsoft Linux Deal

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the penguins-on-the-offensive dept.

Microsoft 150

Kurtz'sKompund writes "French Linux vendor Mandriva said no to dealing with Microsoft on open source patents. They're the third Linux vendor in a week to do so, joining Red Hat and Ubuntu in the 'against' column. TechWorld reports that Mandriva's CEO echoed statements from other open source leaders, saying essentially 'we don't need to pay protection money to do our job.' From the article: 'Jonathan Eunice, an analyst at Illuminata, said Microsoft's deals with Xandros and Linspire don't have the same impact as they would if they had been made with a major Linux vendor such as Red Hat. "I think Microsoft is going to second-tier players, and they're cutting deals with them because they are softer targets," Eunice said.'"

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So.. (5, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19597943)

So all these groups need to do is go "we'll make no deal" and they get free press on a bunch of geek news sites, more support from the community AND they get street cred?

Wow, who would side with MS when you can get 3 priceless things which your entire business model relies on?

Re:So.. (5, Insightful)

madcow_bg (969477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598223)

So all these groups need to do is go "we'll make no deal" and they get free press on a bunch of geek news sites, more support from the community AND they get street cred?

Wow, who would side with MS when you can get 3 priceless things which your entire business model relies on?
Which is very, very good indeed! It shows that the community matters!

Re:So.. (0)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598367)

You forget they also get (possibly but hopefully not) the highest paid lawyers in the world baying for your blood. Even though it's the case is completely baseless, it's still enough to make any geek cry I'd say.

OJ Simpson anyone?

Re:So.. (5, Insightful)

kungfoolery (1022787) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598459)

I'm sure it's a bigger deal than that.

Undoubtedly, Microsoft is waving a big bag of money in front of these vendors in order to entice them to sign. Turning away a deal with a devil that'll plop you tons of cash in your pocket to help fuel future R&D plus the promise of no future litigation from M$' army of lawyers so you can focus on said R&D might not be as easy to turn away as it seems.

I will say though, this makes my respect for those vendors who have refused to sign that much greater

Re:So.. (2, Interesting)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598943)

I will say though, this makes my respect for those vendors who have refused to sign that much greater

Agreed. Even further, how many of us now boycott the Linux distros that buckled under M$ pressure? I do, and have steered multiple companies away from Suse already. Xandros and Linspire weren't really on my radar anyway, but now I'll be on the lookout for opportunities to torpedo them. Is there any community group organizing such a boycott?

Re:So.. (3, Funny)

projektdotnet (1061236) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600507)

I have my boycott. I refuse to buy microsoft products actually. When my parents got their new(er) used computer the first thing I did was put feisty on it. Also in case anyone is wondering and would like to send a message to Mr Gates his fax number is 425-708-0600. It took some hassle to get it from the receptionist but I got it!

Damn, it's hot... (1, Funny)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600775)

Also in case anyone is wondering and would like to send a message to Mr Gates his fax number is 425-708-0600.

It's so hot and I'm so tired I'd read that you had Mr Goatse's fax number.

Only on /. would that even make sense.

Re:So.. (5, Interesting)

bonefry (979930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598983)

Turning away a deal with a devil that'll plop you tons of cash in your pocket to help fuel future R&D ...
You forget that it's the community that does the actual R&D ... and Novell, Xandros and Linspire will feel this when major projects start going GPL3, and they are left behind with old forks that need maintenance.

That's what happens when you bite the hand that feeds you ;)

Re:So.. (4, Interesting)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599375)

So very well put.

These companies who profit wholly on the efforts of gift-economy programmers want to make deals that shaft those very same people. Either participate in the gift economy or don't. We don't care. But please don't try to poison our gift economy.

Re:So.. (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599945)

That's precisely the position I take. For all the contributions these guys make, the fact is that the overwhelming majority of code sitting in their distros was not developed by them and is not maintained by them. They are the recipients of a good deal of hard work by other people, and as they take this road to complicity with Microsoft's anti-OS campaigns, they're going to find themselves on the margins.

A deal they SHOULD be making (5, Interesting)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599771)

... is one with each other. Some sort of mutual defense agreement. If MS does decide to sue, they should all come to each other's aid. Maybe one company is too small, but the combination of those in the 'against' column might stand a fighting chance.

They should also highly publicize this agreement. It will go a long way against the MS patent FUD. Actively recruiting players who were not approached, like IBM and Oracle, would go even further.

In the end, a couple things might happen:

  1. MS doesn't sue, and good PR was had by all (except MS).
  2. MS sues and gets a run for its money. They might even lose, all dollars being equal. Either way, they need to disclose their patents at that point, which ends this particular FUD campaign.


In any case, mutualy defense is a win for F/OSS.

Re:A deal they SHOULD be making (1)

Xymor (943922) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600461)

An United front against the Empire? Like a 'Resistance'?
Man, we better start training more Jedis now.

I remember reading a site with the statistics of foss coders and the contribution of private companies that lead me to believe the majority of code in were written by companies like Sun, IBM, Linux Foundation, Mozilla, Canonical, etc...

And GP, the private sector must boycott these sellout distro too, otherwise we might see a rush of people seeking safe haven from MS suits(I mean those who bought MS-FUD-2007UltimateEdition). If that happens others non-assimilated distros might start losing costumers and only a massive move to GPL3 would save us.

Re:A deal they SHOULD be making (3, Insightful)

imroy (755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600947)

MS sues and gets a run for its money.

MS won't risk it. No, the FUD value is *far* more valuable to them. They can scare people away from F/OSS and scare others into making their own deals.

Re:A deal they SHOULD be making (1)

Jokkey (555838) | more than 7 years ago | (#19601181)

... is one with each other. Some sort of mutual defense agreement.

That's already been done, more or less, with the Linux Foundation [linux-foundation.org] and the Open Invention Network [openinventionnetwork.com] . Groups like Red Hat and IBM are members of both; Novell, somewhat ironically, is even a member of OIN.

Re:A deal they SHOULD be making (1)

Archwyrm (670653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19601321)

Novell?

That makes it even worse for them to have engaged in such a bonehead deal with MS. *sigh* Must be high time to start phasing out all the SuSe boxen around the office. =/

Re:A deal they SHOULD be making (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19601447)

You haven't done this already? It has been ages since their deal! Chairman I motion for a suspension of Honourable Archwyrm's Open Source credentials for a period of one week.

Re:So.. (1)

CherniyVolk (513591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599791)

From the movie Gangs of New York, Leonardo De Caprio's character shares a bit of wisdom.

"It's a funny feeling being under the wing of a dragon. It's warmer than you think"

The best reason not to do any deal... (2, Insightful)

jobsagoodun (669748) | more than 7 years ago | (#19601151)

"Contracts are what you use against parties you have relationships with." - Darl McBride

It matters when a commercial distro stands tall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19598565)

It matters when a commercial distro stands tall instead of just cutting a deal with MS out of fear.

Thank you Mandriva for standing against Microsoft's attack on Free Software.

Re:So.. (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599985)

It is better than stealing everyone's IP, claiming everyone is stealing yours, getting street cred, and having press in all the trades and regular news media.

Re:So.. (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600477)

I don't think that it is a big deal for *this* particular distribution. Red Hat, yes. But Mandriva is based outside the US (no clue what % of Mandriva Club users are in the States), and has never really recovered the high position it once held. It's like an Ubuntu you pay for.

HOWLER MONKEYS!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19597985)

HOWLER MONKEYS!! [wikipedia.org]

Thank God. (2)

cromar (1103585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598003)

I was afraid everyone was going to cave in to M$.

Re:Thank God. (3, Insightful)

MollyB (162595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598173)

Thank God all you want, but don't forget the brave developers, coders, programmers and others who, collectively, stood up to The Bully.
They are our liberators, not a Supreme Being (may I be struck dead by lightning if it ain't so)!

Re:Thank God. (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598265)

It's just an expression :) I know it must be extremely frightening for anyone to stand up to such a large corporation. Mandriva's courage is commendable. Whether there is a God or not, I'm sure he doesn't give a rat's ass about that shit. If there is a God, why does he/she allow disasters like earthquakes and Microsoft? *ducks*

Re:Thank God. (5, Funny)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599125)

> If there is a God, why does he/she allow disasters like earthquakes and Microsoft?

Are you comparing a disaster that causes billions of dollars finansial losses and thousands of people to lose their home every year, to a natural movement of tectonic plates? That's low.

Re:Thank God. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19598577)

You still here?

Re:Thank God. (2, Funny)

MollyB (162595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598889)

ah-yup (unlessin' I's daid 'n y'all're too)

Re:Thank God. (4, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599681)

Oh No!

He's done far worse than kill you. He's given you that thick southern accent!

Re:Thank God. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19600057)

Cletus is one of my favorite Simpson's characters.
(we're so far OT I's 'fraid not to be a Nonny-Muss)

Re:Thank God. (5, Funny)

negated (981743) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599199)

They are our liberators, not a Supreme Being (may I be struck dead by His noodley appendage if it ain't so)!

Sorry, just had to fix that for you!
- S

Re:Thank God. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19598199)

See..... who said the French are a bunch of spineless, cheese eating, nazi lovers! They may roll over for the Germans but not for the Devil!

Re:Thank God. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19600513)

God?

God has nothing to do with this. God does not meddle in the affiars of men. God is too busy running the Universe to play some significant role on the 3rd orbiting rock from some star in the outer arm of one local galaxy.

If you want to thank someone, thank the Linux community, those who speak for it, and most of all, Microsoft for thinking that MONEY can buy the altruism behind FOSS.

Thank you Microsoft, for being that arrogant. You've just strengthened a community that thrives on its very existence.

Where's the business case? (4, Insightful)

Urusai (865560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598013)

What does Microsoft think it will get from these deals with distributions? I doubt most of them have patents that can be cross licensed. I gather most patents in OSS are retained by individuals, or by companies like IBM or Sun.

Re:Where's the business case? (4, Insightful)

klingens (147173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598069)

They get acknowledgement for their patents. They have proof that people settled for their patents they can show in lawsuits down the line. Now their patents have assigned some value. And those deals won't last forever either:
Do you think MS still pays money to distros 5,10 years down the line? No, then they want to receive money, at least from the ones still around.

MS is in for the long haul here.

Re:Where's the business case? (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598469)

Now their patents have assigned some value.

Err, right. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the true value so far being shown in negative dollars? :) Microsoft had to pay Novell to take the deal, which says their ambiguous patents are more trouble than value. Lawyers fighting future cases will not be blind to this fact.

Re:Where's the business case? (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599097)

Microsoft simply had to pay more in licensing fees since their revenue is higher.

Re:Where's the business case? (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19601203)

Microsoft simply had to pay more in licensing fees since their revenue is higher.

In the world of reality, I believe this is what we call an excuse. Every so often that world of reality leaks into the legal process and has an impact on it.

Is it because vista sales were weak? (3, Interesting)

ruewan (952328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598607)

Could poor vista sales be the reason for Microsoft brandishing vagues patent threats?

Re:Is it because vista sales were weak? (2, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19601125)

Only Microsoft knows that, but it is a suspicion I've had for some time. Issuing public threats is bad PR, and would only be done in an emergency. If Vista and Office 2007 sales were shooting through the roof, why hurt the company's reputation by starting to make vague threats left and right?

Re:Where's the business case? (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598655)

Who cares if I get people to acknowledge my patents. Does that mean they are valid patents? Would a judge even consider this? I don't see how getting people to pay for licenses for you patents adds any validity to them. Especially when nobody even knows what the patents are.

Re:Where's the business case? (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598669)

They get acknowledgement for their patents. They have proof that people settled for their patents they can show in lawsuits down the line. Now their patents have assigned some value
I don't think so. The only thing acknowledged is that Linux vendors are dealing with Microsoft regarding patent issues. You might say that this shows, in some vague way, that Linux vendors believe Microsoft has patents that might be relevant. But which ones are they? A lawsuit would have to specify; but the Microsoft-Linux vendor deals don't mention specific patents, so they can't be used as 'precedent' (even in the nonlegal meaning of the word).

Re:Where's the business case? (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598799)

Red Hat and a few other major players have openly contested MSFT's claim that Linux violates its patents. So the value of "Look Ma! These guys agreed and paid me money" argument is very low.

Further to sustain, "they paid us money" argument, they have to show that these companies paid more to MSFT than the recieved in concurrent deals. Already they can show that it is MSFT that paid Novell and not the otehr way around. They will move for discovery to see what kind of deals it offered to others who signed on. That is a can of worms MSFT would not like to open.

Further, many open source advocates have openly challenged MSFT to identify the alleged violations and they claim if there were really violations they could work around it easily. By not identifying these patents, Linux advocates could argue that MSFT has abandoned whatever rights it had. In copyrights/trademarks, if a company knows there is a violation of its trademark/copyright and still takes no action, it loses the trademark. This is one argument Linux could make.

In my opninion, IANAL, the strong, open and vocal dispute over the claims MSFT made over Linux has completely voided any residual "why would they have paid us money if they had not violated my patents?" arguments.

Re:Where's the business case? (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599347)

IIRC, if any of these companies DON'T deny that the code they distribute is violating patents, the GPL would require them to cease distribution...

Re:Where's the business case? (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600815)

Patent/copyright infringement does not require the same level of defense as trademark infringement. Really, it doesn't require any, but I think a few patent trolls have been flattened by laches.

Really, I think the main goal for MS here is to go for a "chilling effect" vice lawsuits. The main targets would probably businesses that are considering a move to Linux, and MS wants to stop them cold with the fear of a patent lawsuit somewhere down the line. Going after distributors is pointless in that regard (and these refusals, while nice from a FOSS perspective, are really just rhetoric in that regard), and going after current Linux licensees is equally pointless due to indemnification.

Re:Where's the business case? (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598073)

It doesn't give a damn about that. It wants, like SCO before it, to have some trophies on the wall, so it can point at them and say "See, these guys think there's a violation of our IP rights going on!" I'm sure they expected guys like RedHat and Ubuntu to tell them to kiss their shiny metal asses, but still, they've got a few, and now they'll milk those PR wins for everything they're worth.

Re:Where's the business case? (4, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599327)

Good point. In addition to that, deals like this go further to fragment the growing Linux community. Let's not forget that with contributions such as Xgl, Mono, Beagle, and AppArmor, Novell is no slacker when it comes to Linux development. If the Novell-Microsoft agreement makes Novell unable to release their code under the GPL3 like some people have speculated, that would not only punish Novell but all of the Linux users who could benefit from Novell's projects.

Re:Where's the business case? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599707)

Well, to be honest, I think the strategy will be an abject failure. I simply don't think Novell, through its marriage to Microsoft, is going to hurt the Linux community, so much as it's going to slowly drift into irrelevance. My impression from the Open Source development community is that while they like guys like Novell contributing, it's not like Novell is some sort of crux of open source development. Most of the really important projects are not at all reliant on Novell, so I think it's very easy to overstate the importance that Novell carries.

As to MS's strategy itself, unless it actually gets some of the big distros on side, all it's going to have is some bit-players with very small install bases. Let Microsoft shit on SUSE. Let them pick up some small fry distros. As Ubuntu is rapidly becoming the major consumer distro out there, I think Microsoft is wasting its time on this angle of attack.

Re:Where's the business case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19600709)

So? Then just fork Xgl, Moono, Beagle etc. en go on without Novell..

You forget it's the community, and not an corporation, thats the drive behind Linux...

It just wants to stay relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19598095)

is what I think.

Microsoft's FUD MoJo is weak... (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599137)

It wants stronger FUD mojo...

Microsoft has got to know that if it really sued for patent infringement it would lose. Any minor infringement that did make it to litigation would be coded out ASAP. They wouldn't get billions and billions of dollars but they would lose their FUD talking points.

This can be a good thing. We are now separating the distros who have integrity from those that don't.

MS is scared of getting sued (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599177)

Obviously MS is paying off companies to avoid getting sued in future. Marketing spin is used to make it look like it is the other way around, but if it is unclear, follow the money. MS paid Novell M$40 not the other way around. What exactly it is that MS did that is making them scared of getting sued, I don't know, but it will probably come out in the next ten years or so. I guess they misappropriated a bunch of GPL code and is feeling guilty.

Re:Where's the business case? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600715)

Maybe these specific Linux distributions have patents or rights to something that Microsoft is infringing on. Microsoft could care a less about a few linux distros, even Suse. However, if, in these agreements, it is getting protection from it's own infringement, well, then that's a whole different story.

Absolutely no reason to cave. (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598051)

Microsoft's patent threat can only go so far.

a) Acting out a patent lawsuit against a European company would be an utter political disaster for Microsoft. As soon as MS starts filing patent lawsuits against European companies, the EU will invent a reason to sue Microsoft again and again.

b) Acting out a patent lawsuit against an American company that is well funded, such as IBM, would be a disaster for the software industry and invite federal involvement, which no one wants.

c) Microsoft, like many tech companies, has managed to alienate Republican support. Ballmer might be a Republican, but Gates has already said he's, sigh, for the other side. So, I wouldn't expect a great many Republicans leaping to the defense of MS in the event some sort of legal war goes against them. And surely, Democrats aren't exactly going to rush to defend an oligarchical billionaire's company. Microsoft doesn't really have the allies on the hill that it thinks it has, and Republicans remember MS didn't do them any favors after they got a sweetheart anti-trust deal to begin with.

Bottom line is this: Microsoft's patent threat is a threat only, one that would it be stupid to use, and Linux distros shouldn't be afraid of it.

Re:Absolutely no reason to cave. (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598697)

Microsoft doesn't really have the allies on the hill that it thinks it has...

Maybe that's why the only cable news network that's listing to the left is MSNBC...

Re:Absolutely no reason to cave. (2, Interesting)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598855)

I think you mean the only cable news network that hasn't listed so far to the right that it's sunk. BTW, last time I heard Bill Gates was a Republican. Is there any evidence that this is no longer the case?

Re:Absolutely no reason to cave. (2, Informative)

mp3phish (747341) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599513)

Bill Gates also heavilly donates to the RNC and to republican candidates

How do you think the political appointment of Ashcroft went through so smoothly and what was the first thing on Ashcroft's agenda? Dissolve the push for a harder MS settlement.

Re:Absolutely no reason to cave. (1)

Sesostris III (730910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599339)

Interesting to note that all the companies that have "capitulated" have been US companies (Novell, Xandros, Linspire). Of those that have said "No", One is US but Large (Red Hat), and the others are Non-US (Ubuntu, Mandriva).

I wonder if this pattern will hold?

Sesostris III

What about me? And gentoo and... (0)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598091)

Seriously man, I said no too, seriously.

But seriously, what of Gentoo. I can't imagine them going along for the ride, but have they in fact said so publicly?

Tom

Re:What about me? And gentoo and... (5, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598185)

But seriously, what of Gentoo.

Gentoo + Microsoft. hmm....

"To compile properly, this version of Gentoo requires Microsoft Visual C++ for Linux(TM) version 7.0 or later. [Click to buy online]"

Nah..

Re:What about me? And gentoo and... (0)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598597)

Maybe Microsoft could adopt a Gentoo compile-everything model to make Windows more stable... oh wait, never mind.

Re:What about me? And gentoo and... (1)

RevHawk (855772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599099)

I am not a Gentoo User...

But that has to be one of the most absolutely terrifying hypothetical scenarios I have ever read on Slashdot.

Glad it's just never going to happen...

Re:What about me? And gentoo and... (3, Insightful)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598227)

Gentoo has no commercial offerings, and therefore wouldn't be a good target for MS.

Re:What about me? And gentoo and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19600537)

You're enough of an attention whore already. No need to reward that any more.

Mandriva has always been nice (3, Insightful)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598101)

Way to go Mandriva. This affirms that MS is only able to pick off the weaker/greedier distro's.

Mandriva/Mandrake has held a place in my heart for a long time. It is up to date, and it has about the nicest install.

If you are going to give a linux PC to a newbie, they are one of the first I would recommend. They have configuration tools (drake) that are second to none.

It is a very nice distro, and now with the assurance that we are free from MS worries, I would highly recommend trying it to see if it is the right distro for your friends.

Re:Mandriva has always been nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19598157)

well siad!

Re:Mandriva has always been nice (3, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598333)

Been using Mandrake/Mandriva off and on since 2001 (8.1).

The x.2 and the 10.x (through 2006) were pretty ugly. 2007 and 2007.1 seem to be pretty good.

Until Ubuntu, MDK had the rep as *THE* newbie friendly distro. The installer is still second to none (with the caveat that it seems to overwrite the MBR with grub even if you tell it to install grub on the root partition instead).

Re:Mandriva has always been nice (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599625)

Way to go Mandriva. This affirms that MS is only able to pick off the weaker/greedier distro's.

When in battle, don't you always pick off the low hanging fruit first? It will "strengthen" their position in our corrupt court system when it comes time to take SCO's place in the battle.

Who paid whom? (2, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598111)

We know that MSFT actually paid Novell to get them. Something like Novell pays X$ to "license" the patent infringing technology from MSFT and MSFT paid Y$ to Novell to distribute some "coupons". Y > > X. May be some other such deals with Linspire and Sandisk/Samsung or whoever else who signed with MSFT.

Let us not forget. MSFT does have a large war chest, and we cant be sure if it backs up a huge truck load of money on to the driveway of these players, these guys wont have a change of hearts and sing a different tune. So let us not celebrate it too much.

Redhat/etc. aren't holding out for more MS $$ (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598677)

Redhat, Ubuntu, and now Mandriva are not just holding out for more money from MS before caving in on the patent threat.

You can take that to the bank. And celebrate!

Re:Redhat/etc. aren't holding out for more MS $$ (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599615)

I find it highly interesting who has and hasn't caved. RedHat, who arguably gives more back to the Open Source and Free Software communities than any other vendor, told them to go fuck themselves. But then SuSe has given a lot back, too, and they did. Does anyone know of a page that charts relative contributions (hopefully some way better than kLoC, but that would be better than nothing) of different Linux distributors?

Re:Redhat/etc. aren't holding out for more MS $$ (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600875)

Between Red Hat and Novell, the deciding factor is likely that Red Hat is profitable and Novell isn't. They couldn't get their Linux business jump-started fast enough to replace the dying NetWare business, and lost money and people. Red Hat's fairly well off (although they're likely in the crosshairs should legal action initiate), and most importantly, so well identified with "FOSS" that a backlash would likely sink them.

Re:Who paid whom? (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598755)

Initially Y >> X, but the deal requires yearly payments from Novell for basically the remainder of their existence. In the long term X >>>>>> Y. Sure Novell gets a very much needed cash infusion, but long term they sold their soul to the devil. Those yearly payments to Microsoft are going to get very ugly when/if Novell is low on cash again. You don't ever want to trade a large cash settlement for smaller payments with no end date because the day will come when those payments exceed the money received and Microsoft's long term strategy begins to pay substantial cash.

When talking about the deal I haven't seen any comments on the long term payments Novell must make on every copy of Linux distributed. If Novell becomes successful they will be paying a percentage to MS. It's a Win-Win for MS and a lose-lose for Novell.

I hope that perception catches on (5, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598209)

"I think Microsoft is going to second-tier players, and they're cutting deals with them because they are softer targets," Eunice said.

Let's hope that perception catches on. Only second-tier Linux players go in for a Microsoft deal.

Want to give everyone the perception that you're one of the major players? Refuse to deal.

Re:I hope that perception catches on (3, Funny)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598947)

Which way to the Microsoft Make a Linux Deal Department? I wouldn't mind the cash or free entry into second-tier Linux distribution status for my umm... Debunhat Enterprise Linux...

Re:I hope that perception catches on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19600717)

Actually, in all fairness, I think Mandriva is second-tier. Xandros and Linspire are third-tier. (as in "who really cares what they do?")

Rock on! (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598211)

I hope now that a few distros have stood up, that every other one Microsoft approaches say NO!
Keep it real, Linux users!

Way to go Mandriva! (2, Insightful)

sleekware (1109351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598317)

This is the best thing that Linux distributions and other oss vendors could be doing - rejecting Microsoft's deals. They are based on F.U.D. and have no basis in fact. That's why Microsoft is so vague about it. F.U.D. is one of Microsoft's main marketing and business tactics.

what if (3, Interesting)

uglydog (944971) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598369)

Let's just say that MS had something that they could use against Redhat, Ubuntu, and Mandriva. And say MS somehow shut them down.

Could Linspire (or some other company that did cut a deal) take up the old source code, call it the Enterprise version or something, and distribute it, without worrying about getting sued?

Re:what if (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598985)

Sort of. Redhat Enterprise at least has a lot of non-Free software, so they'd have to leave that out unless they paid for it. The GPL stuff, yeah, no problem, but that basically makes it Fedora.

Microsoft = Mob ? (2, Funny)

ruewan (952328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598375)

The "pay protection money" makes the sweet folks at Microsoft sound like evil mobsters.

Re:Microsoft = Mob ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19598487)

except for microsoft is the one backing this up with the real money. i guess these fools don't know the difference between the debit and credit columns. must suck for their business model.

Re:Microsoft = Mob ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19598495)

They try to get money from other peoples work by asserting vague threats (infringements), displaying their strength (patents) and promise protection in exchange (protection from their lawyers by their lawyers).

the canossa reference in the blog title (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19598387)

So SUSE is a second-tier vendor? (2)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598511)

Since they went with the bizarro agreement in the first place, I guess that makes them the ultimate second-tier vendor.

Oh, I'm curious about these software patents. Can some one please show me a piece of software?

I'd like to hold it and examine it.... ...i'm waiting...

Re:So SUSE is a second-tier vendor? (1)

shystershep (643874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599319)

Here, just hold these wires while I flip this switch back and forth. This may take a while . . .

That doesn't seem to cut it (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600637)

"You can't patent, you know, on-off-on-off code in the abstract, can you?"
-- Antonin Scalia

How many more? (3, Informative)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598617)

I wonder how many more Linux vendors have to say no to Microsoft before they remember what got them in the position they're in. Didn't they at some point develop and ship software people wanted to use?

Note to Bill: Fire the lawyers and improve Vista. See the accompanying discussion to this article [slashdot.org] to begin pulling your head out.

Re:How many more? (2, Informative)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599321)

Maybe you still think its just the lawyers influencing these decisions and that Ballmer and Gates still actually would care about the company if "we just swayed them in the right direction" - these decisions would still happen, if not more often and more aggressive attacks against the open source community even without lawyers. Quoting Steve Ballmer off of Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (and the source from the wiki quote: http://news.com.com/2100-1001-268520.html [com.com] )

He has referred to the free Linux software system as a "[...] cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."

Novell is hardly 2nd tier (2, Insightful)

brewstate (1018558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19598775)

"I think Microsoft is going to second-tier players, and they're cutting deals with them because they are softer targets,". I think it is very tactless to call Novell second tier. Yeah they may have caved but truthfully they do work on several projects that border on Microsoft ISP Mono, OpenExchange, etc. Do I think it is bad form to partner with MS yes, but if you look at the deal Novell really didn't come out on the bad side of the exchange. Suse is a pretty powerful distro and arguably 3 or 4th in the Corporate distro list.

Chances are they will pay eventually (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19598995)

MS may be playing with opensource right now, but there is little doubt that the majority of Linux Distros have at least to some illegal degree taken ideas from windows. Probably nothing important, but none the less. Your talking about an entire industry that's literally obsessed with Microsoft alternatives. That being said the real statistic likely hood is actually that MS does have patents that are being infringed. They have been in the business much much longer and like it not the majority of all that is Linux is just a reverse engineering project based on Unix, Apple and Windows. Melting together the 'best' ideas from all platforms into Linux. You even have a start button on most distros, so good luck with the we don't have to pay intellectual property stance. That's a pretty dumb game to play these days considering MS likely wants minor compensation. The funny part is that the ONLY people who care or pay attention to MS lattest ploy are the Linux/open source fanboys. The rest of the world could care less if Linux is or is not using patent ideas. It pretty much assumed that nobody is paying enough attention to Linux for patent violations to be a focus. Of course, that may very well be why MS chose this strategy. It's a good one. Linux doesn't have good legal teams reviews all their positions on patents, especially with many pieces of software being free donations from the community. That means in many cases they can't be sure were the ideas came from that put together much of the software bundled in the OS. I highly doubt any Linux distro has fully quantified the possibility that anyone of the thousands of pieces of software bundled on their multi DVD images could very well be unfortunately close to patented code.

Consider these things are left up to court to decice, not CEO's. It would be most wise for Linux to take the idea seriously that a patched together OS trying to compete in the corporate world is going to have to validify it's software origins. At the very least I'm saying they need to take this seriously. Just because Linux has gotten a free ride on patent infringement so far doesn't mean it can't be sued years or decades later and with serious fallout. Almost every major software provider has lost patent lawsuits and had to pay millions or make significant changes to their software. It would be stupid to think that Linux can avoid this problem. Using free software doesn't mean that your free software isn't infringing on someone elses patent. Even if you never heard of the software or person, even if you just created exceptionally similar software completely isolated from them. They will still win in court because they patented the idea first and your idea or software is simply perceived as a rip off.

Since it's a court interpreted thing, no one is safe. And there is little chance Linux hasn't stolen ideas from MS. AND the excuse that MS steals also is something a child would say. The point is business liability and it's not something you can proxy your way out of. If Linux distro's want to make money and play the game they will have to face the sad reality of patent laws at all levels. And maybe if they were smart they'd have their own legal team trying to do the same to MS. BUT... Linux and smart businesses just don't go together .. yet. Linux falls for the we'll give you money to look stupid trick everytime. Lindows, Ubuntu, Linux is not ready to be a desktop, why do you think Dell is selling it. Not to help Linux, but to show everyone why they'd rather have Vista for only 50 bucks more. Lindows was laughable and I'm pretty sure Ubuntu's Dell success is a deal born to fail. Ubuntu is their token OS to prove they aren't part of the MS evil empire, but they aren't actually interested in selling it and they probably make less money on it also, especially when you consider support is the new profit outlet. If people run Linux once they get their 3 programs installed that they actually use they probably won't be calling tech support .. for... I dunno.. ever.

If the world goes to shit and everyone is poor I think Linux will thrive, but otherwise it offers nothing the average desktop user is interested in and when considering making money enough to not simply get bought up by another company you need to think about quantity sales not just selling servers. OR give it up and get out of the desktop market because it's just not profitable for Linux. Imagine the amount of man hours that's going into trying to make Linux a desktop OS. The unpaid hours of work people are putting into it. It's just not paying off. Apple has been able to accomplish so much more in such a smaller time and produce a much more sellable product.

In the end what keeps your dream and product alive is monetary success. Idealism will not do it. Linux MUST become profitable soon or become another Amiga. Though in Linux's case it will live on in embedded solutions

Re:Chances are they will pay eventually (0, Troll)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19601463)

Listen, Mr. Dancing Monkey Boy Ballmer, I have already told you several times not to post as AC or shut the fuck up.

Can't stop a magnum (2, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599015)

http://distrowatch.com/stats.php?section=popularit y [distrowatch.com]
by happy coincidence, lists 357 distros.
Redmond has bought off a couple already, and certainly a healthy chunk have a userbase in a low power of two. That leaves a couple hundered in the middle somewhere.
So the strategy can't be to try to bail out the ocean. Redmond's business acumen is way beyond that.
I'm thinking that this is all about hedging against further anti-trust litigation:
"But dad! We played nice with a whole bunch of those kids. That pile of human wreckage over in the corner is just a bunch of lazy whiners."

Hey Microsoft... (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599037)

Nice business you have there. It'd be a shame if I started a Linux distro... 300 Million and it won't happen...

hehe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19599807)

So mandriva doesn't think of themselves as a second-tier player?

lol

linux is cute sometimes

12 Years Now Since Windows '95 (2, Funny)

monxrtr (1105563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19599981)

So how many years until those patents covering Windows '95 start expiring? The "Window" for lawsuits is closing. See how generics changed the pharmaceutical industry. Maybe it's time to make a patent /countdown site for some significant software patents. You see, this is why big companies or government will never be able to control the internet, it's too easy for competitive free speech and competitive free trade to occur online. Politicians won't commit political suicide in the US by censoring content (or even allowing everyone who has downloaded something "illegal" to be punished with "theft" and sentenced to jail). In the short term people that charge to "talk" will be ignored, because they are competing against those who talk for free (how them 'pay' news sites doing?). And lack of IP on "talk" hasn't caused the production of "talk" to stop.

Artists not necessarily being millionaires anymore is just the free market correctly valuing artist's contributions to society. It's a leisure activity. They can dig ditches from 9 to 5 to put food on the table, and practice music and do shows and release mp3s at the same time other people are home from work doing their own hobbies (which could be going to your shows or buying your music). And for the sake of simply avoiding of hypocricy will the pro-copyright and patent defenders please stop communicating their thoughts in a common language, and start mumbling gibberish understood by nobody but themselves. {silence} Thank you, that's much better.

Go European (3, Interesting)

Burz (138833) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600125)

Novell should move to Europe (where the SuSE distro probably should have stayed, in hindsight) and tear up their MS patent agreement into little pieces.

Or heck, Red Hat (having rejected MS patents outright) could even go first, with Linus in tow.

It would make perfect sense if the MS threats weren't also aimed at users.

now that some have said yes, some no - next step? (4, Insightful)

CodeMunch (95290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19600291)

So, MS convinced some sucke...errr..vendors to cough up dough for licensing. If they don't pursue action against those that didn't bend over, how pissed off will those that shelled out $$$ be if others are getting it for free?
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