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Microsoft Fracturing the Open-Source Community

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the old-divide-and-conquer dept.

Linux Business 299

TechGeek sends us to eWeek, where Mark Shuttleworth is quoted to the effect that Microsoft has succeeded in fracturing the Linux and open-source community with its patent indemnity agreements. Quoting: "Microsoft's strategy was to drive a wedge into the open-source community and unsettle the marketplace, Shuttleworth said. He also took issue with the Redmond, Wash., software maker for not disclosing the 235 of its patents it claims are being violated by Linux and other open-source software. 'That's extortion and we should call it what it is,' he said." Shuttleworth added, "I don't think this will end well for the companies that slipped up and went down that road."

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Letter to Mr. Gates (5, Funny)

obergfellja (947995) | about 7 years ago | (#20145437)

Dear Mr. Gates: Bring it. Your Loving - OSS Community

Re:Letter to Mr. Gates (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20145517)

Dude, bravery is being unafraid when it's reasonable to feel that way, but stupidity is being unafraid when it's prudent to have fear.

I know which one you think you have, but I'm not sure if it's the same as what you're actually displaying.

Re:Letter to Mr. Gates (1, Offtopic)

obergfellja (947995) | about 7 years ago | (#20145665)

i know it was stupidity, but i was trying to be funny. somewhat like a Leeroy Jinkins style... so to speak.

Re:Letter to Mr. Gates (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20145791)

oh, a worlds of warcraft reference. yeah, you were being stupid. thanks for the input though.

Re:Letter to Mr. Gates (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20145815)

Dear Mr. Goatse: Bring it. Your Loving - OSS Community


No. Don't bring that anywhere near here.

Oh, GATES. Whew! Nevermind.

Re:Letter to Mr. Gates (1)

Mutant (12693) | about 7 years ago | (#20146547)

Fuck em! I support GNU/Linux and open sorce as in gpl v.2. And that's where my support will go. And I'm taking my money with me. We are out numbered. That's why it's fuckem.

In other words (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20145447)

Microsoft forked the Open Source Community. Motherforkers.

Re:In other words (3, Interesting)

xappax (876447) | about 7 years ago | (#20145711)

Yes, now who wants to join the new Free Source Community?

The Blame is Not MS (4, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | about 7 years ago | (#20146505)

Honestly, the blame is not Microsoft's. It is the community. OSS under GPL3 is fast approaching the stance of the Catholic Church as recently expounded by the Pope. In otherwords, "its all or nothing", "you're either with us, or against us", and so forth.

GPL2 was fine, the lessers are fine. But, brow beating projects into GPL3 is going to make the community rebel, and these people are all about rebellion.

The split is not happening because of MS, it is because of RMS, all holiness to his name.

Re:The Blame is Not MS (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#20146649)

I hope you won't mind if I say: BULLSHIT.

Granted, GPLv3's been in the offing for some time. But I reckon so was the MS/Novell deal - these things don't happen overnight. Version 3 of the GPL actually has the potential to bring the OSS community closer together by making clear the issues surrounding things like software patents and preventing (or at least severely curatailing) similar deals.

We should be grateful that the only major player to take the Microsoft pill was Novell - it would be far worse if Redhat and Canonical had as well.

Im not fractured (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20145475)

Nothing got fractured. It is outright obvious that microsoft-tainted linux distributions (like SuSe) should not be used, and nobody who is really part of the community is using them.

It is similarly obvious that the GPL3 is the only correct open source license to use at this point, and all members of the core community are using it.

The only people who don't agree were insignificant to begin with, and never made any real contributions. So, we aren't fractured at all.

Er, wasn't Linus around here just a second ago?

Re:Im not fractured (0)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#20145581)

*cough*
OpenSSH
*cough*

or was your post sarcasm? In which case, my appologies.

Re:Im not fractured (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#20145901)

Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL, and PHP also among the list of projects not using GPLv3 that could be considered 'core.'

Re:Im not fractured (1)

Dracos (107777) | about 7 years ago | (#20146745)

PHP (or any other scripting language) is a too much of a niche to be very relevant here. As long as enterprise-critical projects (like Samba) are moving to GPL3, and Novell is targeting the enterprise, then the new GPL will be tested... hopefully soon.

Re:Im not fractured (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#20146751)

Don't bother - that was such an obvious troll it's unreal.

Doesn't much matter what happens with the Linux kernel anyhow - much of the userland (including nice things like glibc and gcc) will be GPLv3 if they're not already. And they are major work to replace.

umm yeah it was fractured before Microsoft (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20145497)

Shuttleworth should have known this before stating it

Much ado about nothing (3, Insightful)

fotbr (855184) | about 7 years ago | (#20145505)

Ubuntu will go on. SuSE will go on. Redhat will go on. Microsoft will go on.

Re:Much ado about nothing (4, Funny)

mulvane (692631) | about 7 years ago | (#20145549)

What about SCO?

Re:Much ado about nothing (3, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | about 7 years ago | (#20146697)

They will go on the carpet, and somebody is going to have to clean up their little messes.

Re:Much ado about nothing (1)

ceeam (39911) | about 7 years ago | (#20145617)

Yeah, like there's no graveyard (or hall-of-fame if you like) of technology... Amiga, NeXT, etc... Myriad of Linux distros are really or virtually dead now too. It's just that we forget about it and move on. Ubuntu, SuSE, RedHat, and of course Microsoft don't have the magic shield against becoming obsolete too.

Re:Much ado about nothing (0, Troll)

z3r08urn (1122729) | about 7 years ago | (#20146035)

I would disagree. If Microsoft went the way of the dodo, essentially the entire gaming community would be SOL (except for the console folks). You can't tell me the same lame gamers that have a hard time binding keys in CS (even after playing for 5 or 6 years) woul dbe smart enough to install custom video drivers in Linux. I won't even touch the gameplay factor on OSX. Not saying Windows is the greatest, but MS is the only one who stepped up to the plate at the right time to offer a graphics solution that works.

Re:Much ado about nothing (4, Insightful)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | about 7 years ago | (#20146525)

The gaming community isn't really that important to computing as a whole, and with a little work (as Ubuntu and Fedora have proven) there is little to installing video drivers now. Simplifying game installs would take a little work, but MS going away, or gamers going elsewhere to get their fix; not the end of the world.

Re:Much ado about nothing (0)

nschubach (922175) | about 7 years ago | (#20147043)

I partially agree with you on this... Though I will say, the gaming community is pushing desktop technology (IE: enhanced video cards, faster memory, faster hard drives, etc.)

Re:Much ado about nothing (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 7 years ago | (#20146571)

That could have been said about the Amiga too. It was significantly superior to everything and still died away. There is nothing that bad management cant kill in an instant. After ballmer and Gates who are excellent strategists are gone anything can happen to Microsoft.

Re:Much ado about nothing (3, Interesting)

krgallagher (743575) | about 7 years ago | (#20145633)

"Ubuntu will go on. SuSE will go on. Redhat will go on. Microsoft will go on."

I tend to agree. If the Linux community is worried about Microsoft trying to fracture them, the simple solution is to not attack each other for dealing with Microsoft.

The Microsoft deal IMHO is a good one for Novel. Their target market is the enterprise. They know that Microsoft is not going to be driven from that market any time soon. Partnering with Microsoft to guarantee interoperability just makes it easier for a suit to decide it is OK to install Suse Linux. I think that anything that results in a greater installed base of any Linux distribution is a win for the Linux community. Ultimately it should lead to greater adoption and acceptance of Linux as a mainstream OS.

Re:Much ado about nothing (1)

mulvane (692631) | about 7 years ago | (#20145741)

That's a fairly good point. Most people are comfortable with windows at home because it was introduced to them at school and or work. If people use linux at work, they may find it easier to grab a copy of suse and then possibly another distro later. It could benefit the whole of the linux community in the long run. Likely, time will tell.

Re:Much ado about nothing (3, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | about 7 years ago | (#20146375)

I tend to agree. If the Linux community is worried about Microsoft trying to fracture them, the simple solution is to not attack each other for dealing with Microsoft.

Pretty much. One of the major things that's actuall fracturing the open source community are the zealots out there that scream at people for using a solution other than theirs or, even worse, using anything (no matter what it is) that isn't open.

Ironically, they tend to be the same people that say "copying music isn't stealing" but turn around and raise mortal hell if someone misappropriates open source code in a closed project when the two things are actually pretty much on par.

Re:Much ado about nothing (5, Insightful)

Chosen Reject (842143) | about 7 years ago | (#20147125)

I'm not a zealot by any stretch of the imagination, but copying music isn't stealing. How hard is it for people to add a new phrase to their vocabulary. It's called copyright infringement. It's illegal. It's against the law. It has been put on the law books as something that should not be done. It is NOT stealing. Perhaps those zealots are hypocritical when getting angry at copyright infringement when it is their copyright, perhaps there are more than one group of people on slashdot. But in either case, people who say such a thing are correct and you are wrong. Get over it.

I don't copy music, nor do I download games, and I don't own any unpurchased-by-me movies either. I don't participate in copyright infringement, I don't condone it. I recognize that it is illegal and unlawful. But I also recognize that it is not stealing. It is copyright infringement.

Do you realize that murder and manslaughter and aggravated assault are different?
Do you realize that robbery and theft are different?
Do you realize that trespassing, breaking and entering and burglary are different?

If not, then I can understand that you don't know the difference between copyright infringement and stealing. But if you do understand the difference in all of those above, then why do you have such a hard time understanding that there is a difference between copyright infringement and stealing?

I will say it one more time: Copyright infringement, while still an illegal and unlawful act (in jurisdictions where the copyright is held), is NOT stealing. They aren't the same crime. Both are crimes, but they are not the same crime.

I hope that clears it up for you.

Re:Much ado about nothing (4, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 7 years ago | (#20146479)

The deal with Microsoft is only beneficiary to MS. It also gives credit to the utter FUD that Linux infringes on a lot of Microsoft patents. Ofcourse Microsoft pays you a hefty sum to act like you use their patents. There is no self-goal of having Linux on as many computers as possible. The goal is to have a free open system where single vendors cant use you as a human umbrella stand. Nothing that takes away the freedom and independance is worth a couple of more users.

A long time side-effect of Linux can be that it can force through enough standards so that a new OS can compete on level ground with Microsoft. That would be extremely bad for Microsoft and thats why they are so afraid. Once the lockin dissapears the biggest reason to use Microsofts products also vanish. There is a reason why Microsoft hates standards and its not because they dont work or is hard to implement.

The only winner is Microsoft, they never do anything to be nice.

Re:Much ado about nothing (1)

xappax (876447) | about 7 years ago | (#20147039)

Linux gaining mainstream acceptance is a good thing because it means software freedom is gaining mainstream acceptance. A linux distro that is locked into a bunch of proprietary restrictions does not advance software freedom, so it's not really much of a gain for the broader open source community if such a distro were to gain a lot of ground.

And furthermore, such a distro wouldn't have the broad support of the open source community, and therefore any success that it enjoyed would be more due to marketing, rather than the benefits that open source usually offers.

Re:Much ado about nothing (4, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 7 years ago | (#20146147)

Ubuntu will go on. SuSE will go on. Redhat will go on. Microsoft will go on.
And my heart will go on.

Thank you, Mr. Shuttleworth! (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#20145533)

Extortion. That's what I've been saying all along.

I think what the open source community needs is a patent troll. Hey, SCO's looking to get bought out about now, huh? Maybe with the help of our billionaire friend here and some help from IBM, we could buy SCO and then turn Microsoft's dog against it. That's right. Have SCO sue Microsoft for patent infringement. And, oh, yeah, didn't SCO make some little known Linux distro? Maybe we could taunt them into countersuing and they'd be forced to reveal at least some of those supposed '235 patents'.

Unless it's all complete BS, like I've been saying all along...

Re:Thank you, Mr. Shuttleworth! (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#20145713)

Is it really extortion when the extorter pays off the extortee?

Re:Thank you, Mr. Shuttleworth! (3, Informative)

LinuxGeek (6139) | about 7 years ago | (#20145813)

Is it really extortion when the extorter pays off the extortee?


Actually, it is best called Danegeld [wikipedia.org] . It rarely works out well for the target.

Re:Thank you, Mr. Shuttleworth! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#20145971)

Nah, this isn't a Danegeld. See, here's the thing. Let's say that the Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) between Novell and Santa Cruz did transfer patents to SCO (this doesn't seem to be at issue in the IBM v. SCO trial, just whether the APA transfer copyrights to SCO.) How much ya wanna bet Microsoft is violated several old AT&T UNIX patents right now?

Re:Thank you, Mr. Shuttleworth! (1)

narfbot (515956) | about 7 years ago | (#20146273)

Except that Novell didn't transfer that stuff, and Novell signed a patent covenant. Looks like MS figured this out before we did.

Re:Thank you, Mr. Shuttleworth! (1)

Dracos (107777) | about 7 years ago | (#20146625)

Moderation: +1 Pre-Norman English History reference

Re:He probably started with a different word... (1)

motek (179836) | about 7 years ago | (#20145859)

... but (quoting Bender of Futurama) the X in the middle makes eXtortion sound so cool. He just couldn't resist!

Fractured, schmatured... (5, Interesting)

gowen (141411) | about 7 years ago | (#20145537)

The Linux Community was quite capable of indulging in ridiculously petty schisms, flamewars, arguments and
bickering before Microsoft got involved. Ever since someone noticed the GPL and BSD licenses were different, there's been 3000GW of heat produced by zealots and pragmatists alike (and almost no light).

This is nothing new. Haven't you ever read debian-legal?

Re:Fractured, schmatured... (3, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 7 years ago | (#20145773)

Yeah, that's all the people that are the most passionate about GNU/Linux so they're actually arguing that much because they care. What about all the people who just want to use the software, won't all that arguing put them off, and think of it as a negative reflection on the OSS development model? It's FUD to the outsiders, either way you look at it, and can't be brushed aside by everyone. Just because we know better doesn't mean everyone does. How do we show them what's right?

Re:Fractured, schmatured... (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 7 years ago | (#20146077)

"What about all the people who just want to use the software, won't all that arguing put them off, and think of it as a negative reflection on the OSS development model?"

If they just want to use the software, they should just go and use it. No point in reading trough flamewars.

Re:Fractured, schmatured... (1)

bladesjester (774793) | about 7 years ago | (#20146561)

See, the thing is that a lot of companies want to know that they can use software without reprecussions - ie they have a license for it, it won't affect anything that they may release (and, like it or not, a lot of places still think that if they make something with open tools that they might have to open it), that, if something goes wrong, there is someone they can contact, etc.

Your average user (and often even your average developer) doesn't generally worry about that. Businesses are a whole other story.

I think the problem is that you don't understand that the community problems are problems for some entities that would otherwise be interested in using the software (and that a lot of other people don't understand it's a problem either).

Re:Fractured, schmatured... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20147117)

see, the thing is if these companies are so worried about legal implications, they can buy from microsoft.
it is a free world, and opensource isn't for everybody. it wasn't for the faint of heart to begin with ;)
what's the problem if the community values its freedom to have arguments over the adoption of its software
by some schmucks who won't contribute back anyhow?

Old FUD. (4, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20145891)

The "petty schisms" are all silly and the free software world has gone from strength to strength anyway. Free software encourages people to fork and merge, so disagreements are really a strength because the good results are always picked back up.

Re:Old FUD. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20146427)

What you're referring to is technical. What this is about is politics and fundamental disagreements among various vague factions of what could only be loosely defined as a "community".

Don't let that stop you from making an orthogonal point to victoriously declare everything is OK and move along, etc.

Re:Fractured, schmatured... (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#20145935)

Haven't you ever read debian-legal?
I've heard of it, but I've never read it because rumour has it they all use EMACS.

Re:Fractured, schmatured... (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | about 7 years ago | (#20146789)

I wish. Apparently vi users have taken over and as part of their perniciously evil plot have decided that the documentation for Emacs (which you almost certainly need if you are going to actually use Emacs) is classified as non-free. What's worse now I get an email from "Virtual RMS" warning me about the dangers of documentation written by the real RMS under a license created by RMS.

That's pretty much where I draw the line. If licenses written and approved by RMS are not Free enough for you then we need to get you on some sort of medication ASAP.

Re:Fractured, schmatured... (1)

jmyers (208878) | about 7 years ago | (#20145941)

All of this same argument, bickering, etc goes on in every large organization including Microsoft. The Linux "organization" is just much more transparent so everyone get to see and even participate in the bickering.

Have you ever read the legal bickering that goes on inside the Microsoft legal department? I bet its just as heated as anything on a Debian list, you just don't get to see it.

article/comments don't elaborate on "fracturing" (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 7 years ago | (#20145999)

The Linux Community was quite capable of indulging in ridiculously petty schisms, flamewars, arguments and bickering before Microsoft got involved.

Agreed- and after skimming the entire article, I couldn't find any assertions as to what the supposed split is (does he really think that *anyone* cares except some gullible executives?), what projects it has negatively affected, and so on. No claims about X% of corporations going back to Windows/Solaris/MacOS X, nothing.

It's Shuttleworth simply running off at the mouth, and his comments help lead credence to Microsoft's trolling. Seriously, people. Stop giving MS all this press and attention. The more people hysterically waving their arms, the more people that will actually start to believe it.

Re:Fractured, schmatured... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20146891)

there's been 3000GW of heat produced by zealots and pragmatists alike

Wow! That could power two and a half thousand flux capacitors!

Maybe that's why Debian packages are so old, the maintainers are stuck in some kind of time-travel loop?

Capitolism (2, Insightful)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | about 7 years ago | (#20145539)


I generally think that the open-source community does this fine without anyone's help. Microsoft saw the opportunity to use it's weakness and exploited it.

Welcome to capitolism.

Re:Capitolism (5, Funny)

muellerr1 (868578) | about 7 years ago | (#20145689)

Welcome to capitolism.

Where everybody is forced to live in the city containing the main government buildings.

Re:Capitolism (1)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | about 7 years ago | (#20145763)

hahah! As I was hitting submit I saw it.....was too late!

Re:Capitolism (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#20145793)

Where everybody is forced to live in the city containing the main government buildings.

      If you're in the lobby, you can get away with anything, apparently.

Lesson Learned (4, Insightful)

fishthegeek (943099) | about 7 years ago | (#20145541)

All I know to say is that when Dr. Faust made his deal with the devil it didn't work out well for him either. Faust [wikipedia.org]

"Succeeded"? (5, Informative)

phliar (87116) | about 7 years ago | (#20145579)

From the article:

...what Microsoft is doing is trying to unsettle the marketplace. It isn't working and has not had the slightest impact on those companies that refuse to be drawn into that line of discussion with Microsoft.
Seems to me Shuttleworth is saying the exact opposite of what this Slashdot editor thinks.

Re:"Succeeded"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20145637)

Yep, it's another kdawson story.

Re:"Succeeded"? (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | about 7 years ago | (#20145765)

From the article:

...what Microsoft is doing is trying to unsettle the marketplace. It isn't working and has not had the slightest impact on those companies that refuse to be drawn into that line of discussion with Microsoft.
Seems to me Shuttleworth is saying the exact opposite of what this Slashdot editor thinks.
I see it as Shuttleworth saying that the Linux community is now fractured between those who made the deals with Microsoft and those who didn't. Shuttleworth only said that Microsoft hasn't had any effect on those companies that haven't been "drawn into that line of discussion with Microsoft."

Re:"Succeeded"? (1)

phliar (87116) | about 7 years ago | (#20146019)

Sure, that's a reasonable reading, but "fractured" connotes many pieces, not two. As I read it, he divides companies into two groups: the ones who "get it" and are unconcerned, and the ones who made the deal with the devil and are not long for this world.

Re:"Succeeded"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20146675)

but "fractured" connotes many pieces, not two

It does? In medical terms that would be a compound fracture, while a "regular" fracture would be a simple split. I can't any dictionary entry that says anything like what you claim.

Re:"Succeeded"? (1)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20145975)

Seems to me Shuttleworth is saying the exact opposite of what this Slashdot editor thinks.

Now, now. EWeek is reporting a success, despite what the expert they asked told them. If Slashdot reported it the other way, people would be screaming that EWeek said no such thing. He does believe that Novel has been harmed:

Developers have been abandoning Novell ever since they did the deal with Microsoft, and they have gone to Oracle and Google among others. That's unfortunate for Novell, but was a fairly predictable consequence of their decision and it ultimately portrays a lack of understanding about what it is that really empowers free software."

If there has been any fracture, it was between the community and a few companies that drank M$ patent Kool-Aid (TM, M$ corp 1980).

Re:"Succeeded"? (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | about 7 years ago | (#20146227)

On Slashdot, not even the editors RTFA!

Of course (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 7 years ago | (#20145635)

If you see a threat that you can't resolve by the usual business means then you have to seed confusion to dilute the threat. One must recognize that Microsoft is threatened by the open source community, and that they see that many OSS solutions of today are close to their solutions in functionality.

One problem that the OSS community suffers from is that there are many licensing forms, and that some are in conflict with what's suitable for some end-users. It is also a challenge to make money from OSS solutions unless you have a good model available. And there are a large number of OSS projects that are sponsored in one way or another.

Anyway - one must recognize that the view of having source code as a valuable asset is about to decay. The source code is just a tool - like a hammer or a screwdriver - that allows users to manage their information. The code in itself is useful to some extent, but the knowledge of how to use it us far more important - and here it's possible to make money even in the future.

Re:Of course (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 7 years ago | (#20146029)

Huh?

And guns are just tools, but if your going to take over a country and subjugate the populace, you might want to see what you can do about making sure the people don't have any. The source code is the one and only tool that can guarantee that users will be able to retain control of their systems.

Re:Of course (1)

goldspider (445116) | about 7 years ago | (#20146515)

One must recognize that Microsoft is threatened by the open source community, and that they see that many OSS solutions of today are close to their solutions in functionality.

I recognize no such thing. That claim has been made here for 10 years now, and it is no more true today than it was then.

Until I see some significant market share gains by OSS (I'll use desktop Linux as the benchmark), at the expense of Microsoft, then I will remain unconvinced of the threat posed by OSS.

Re:Of course (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#20147183)

Until I see some significant market share gains by OSS (I'll use desktop Linux as the benchmark), at the expense of Microsoft, then I will remain unconvinced of the threat posed by OSS.
Why is the desktop the only metric? Why not Samba, OpenOffice, OpenDocument, Mono, open groupware servers and similar projects aand standards?

fracturing? (2, Insightful)

wwmedia (950346) | about 7 years ago | (#20145683)

yea? this is a "community" that argues over everything as it is, just look at all the "fractures" over KDE vs. Gnome...

Re:fracturing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20146519)

forget KDE vs. Gnome, EMACS vs VI is where it's at!

For some perspective (4, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 7 years ago | (#20145687)

Check out last year's comment [slashdot.org] I made on the subject. The whole thing was done just to make us have arguments. Can we learn from history, so as not to repeat it?

Divide and conquer is an age old tactic. Open Source is meant to help us divide and yet still cooperate to use our separate works together, but MS is trying to get us to divide and argue amongst each other so that we no longer cooperate but stand divided on what MS is trying to make into an issue. Come on guys, MS walks in, saying "OK, half you guys get over here, and half you guys get over there because we say so. Hey hey hey, ubuntu guys, check out the way those Novell guys are looking at you...." etc. And it's like we're falling for it.

It all boils down to the fact that the software is not "under" any kind of agreement except the GNU GPL. We all know the patents are crap otherwise they would be disclosed. We all know patents do not even matter, otherwise MS (and any others who would want to squeeze GNU/Linux for some cash) would have made their move by now. All they're doing is prodding us and watching which way we squirm. Why should we squirm? Just get back to using FLOSS, nothing's changed. Except that maybe we're a lot bigger now and they're more scared.

Re:For some perspective (2, Interesting)

MagicBox (576175) | about 7 years ago | (#20145863)

So Microsoft is now accountable for open source projects/companies/undertakings going south/not getting along/going different directions? C'mon man, how much longer are these guys going to blame every little problem on someone else? Welcome to the real world. Stop putting blame. It only makes you look desperate, dumb and like a loser.

Re:For some perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20146321)

I don't know what rock you have been under but SuSE and Ubuntu fans have been arguing over what distribution is better and why since time began. If Microsoft's grand strategy is to get us to do what we're already doing then that's good, because it distracts them even longer from doing something rash.

Frankly I think you have it wrong who is doing the divide and conquer -- it's open source. In the past Microsoft could sit on their os or browser or office or development suite or anything else for years, but open source attacks them from all sides all the time. Microsoft has to divide its attention to fend off competing software of all kinds, and they've had to shift developers to these things because of pressure from open source.

What's Microsoft's focus at the moment? Fighting Linux? Google? Web Services? B2B? Applications? dot Net? Even Microsoft doesn't know what it is doing.

The cat is already out of the bag (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | about 7 years ago | (#20145701)

And has been for quite a while. Shops I know of who are not already utilizing Open Source are moving there as quickly as possible. Management realizes the value of having some control over the code is a good thing.

Re:The cat is already out of the bag (3, Informative)

baggins2001 (697667) | about 7 years ago | (#20145917)

It's not just that the code is available to the group using it. It's also that the code is out there and if XYZ quits working or supporting it maybe someone else will.
My CEO was shocked when I told him that the accounting software was no longer supported by the original company. But we found some guys who used to work for the company and they'll come here and help us fix the problem. You just have to pay airfare, lodging and $200/hr.

Getting sick of reading about patents (1)

jerryodom (904532) | about 7 years ago | (#20145731)

Not saying that articles shouldn't be posted because they should. However patent issues have created such a muck in software I doubt we'll ever be able to work out all the issues. It's almost unworthy of reporting anything having to do with patent related issues. *please please go away 800 lb patent gorilla in the middle of the room*

Like they needed help (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20145775)

Psh. Please...

KDE v GNOME
vi v emacs
Linux v BSD
Qt v gtk v tcl/tk v Swing v raw X calls
O(1) scheduler v Completely Fair Scheduler
GPLv2 v GPLv3 v BSD license
stuffing v potatoes

Like the open-source world needs help in becoming fractured. We're perfectly good at doing that ourselves, thank you very much.

Re:Like they needed help (2, Funny)

ChefInnocent (667809) | about 7 years ago | (#20146131)

That's because people are idiots. Here's the correct choices:

KDE
emacs
BSD
gtk
O(1) scheduler
BSD license
potatoes ;)

Re:Like they needed help (2, Funny)

sjaskow (143707) | about 7 years ago | (#20146441)

I'd really like links to your version of KDE that uses GTK instead of the QT libraries.

Re:Like they needed help (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#20146143)

By your list, I take it you seem to think there should only be one product per software group. I'll grant you the ongoing, never-ending Gnome vs. KDE war is probably the most typical, but as to GPLv2 vs. GPLv3, that's more of a meta-war.

Obligatory... (1)

iperkins (974060) | about 7 years ago | (#20146847)

You forgot: Less filling vs. tastes great

No surprise, but it won't work (5, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | about 7 years ago | (#20145803)

Microsoft are doing what they do best, divide and conquer, with FUD and money. The good news is that by attacking the open source community, they have shifted into "FIGHT" phase (ignore, mock, fight, lose, as Gandhi said). Microsoft will not win, for the simple reason that the open source community is unlike any business they have crushed before.

We can't be divided, we are already utterly fragmented and internecine. Our strength is that we can never be absorbed; once open (and especially if GPLd) the code can never be killed.

Microsoft will try, and try, and try to divide the FOSS community, and each time they'll just make it stronger. Eventually the attempts will change Microsoft; the only real way it can fight and beat FOSS is to become FOSS.

Nothing Microsoft can do, no amount of money, patent blackmail, FUD, ISO corruption and bribery, not even murder and assassination, can stop the Community, because FOSS is not a business, it is a better technology, and like MSN/1.0 in 1995, where Microsoft thought, "let's beat the Internet by making our own private network", you cannot fight better technology. You use it, or your competitors do, and either way it survives.

Of course, in the meantime, Microsoft can and will cause a lot of pain and damage and destroy many careers and corrupt many officials, and mis-educate millions of young people. It's very sad. But in the long term, makes no difference.

Re:No surprise, but it won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20146417)

DRM and Trusted Computing will render Linux irrelevant. If you can't buy a platform on which to run Linux because they are all locked down hard to use only Microsoft operating systems, you're out of luck. And, even if you adapt an embedded cpu, you won't find an ISP that will let you connect running untrusted software.

We have lived in a 'golden age' of IT and network freedom, and that will end sooner than you think.

We're doomed.

Re:No surprise, but it won't work (4, Interesting)

pieterh (196118) | about 7 years ago | (#20146667)

No, this analysis is about five years out of date. There is zero chance that vendors will lock-down their computers to Microsoft's requirements, because Linux has become extremely well-established in large companies, in the server room. If any manufacturer made a chipset that did not run Linux, they would get into serious trouble.

It is absolutely obvious that Microsoft has accepted that Linux will dominate, eventually, and is making plans for keeping its business afloat even after Windows has lost its grip on the market. Patents play a crucial role in this - you may want to run Linux on your machines but you'll have to pay Microsoft a patent royalty.

We're past the stage where Microsoft thinks it can shut-out FOSS. Actually, I expect that Microsoft has already made contingency plans for moving its core products onto either a Linux or a BSD kernel, much like Apple did.

There is no other reason to explain Microsoft's fanatical lobbying for software patents in Europe; it's not because the vendor thinks it'll suddenly be able to out-portfolio IBM, it's because it knows that it only needs 1 (one) valid patent on any key aspect of Linux (one that cannot be recoded), and it has won its game.

They will fail, in this as well, mainly because they are starting to get the whole IT sector lined up against them, with the exception of their puppy Linux vendors, and Intel, who fear Linux because it breaks their monopoly (Linux being totally portable is the ultimate monopoly killer).

cowards (2, Interesting)

MICROSUX555 (1139539) | about 7 years ago | (#20145853)

I will say this, all the companies that did this agreement will end up broke. I got so mad over linspire's agreement with microsoft. I then switched to Ubuntu. I just cant trust them to not compromise my system. why the didnt they learn from sco

Re:cowards (3, Informative)

smist08 (1059006) | about 7 years ago | (#20146767)

Linspire is already un-ravelling. Saw the announcement just today that the CEO Carmody "resigned". I guess we can all speculate why he was "resigned", but it seems pretty clear.

Yeah, because... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20145943)

It's not like we weren't fractured along the lines of...

  - Vi vs EMACS
  - ((Linux Vs FreeBSD) Vs NetBSD) vs OpenBSD 'cause Theo's a dick
  - RMS vs Linus
  - GNOME vs KDE
  - C programmers vs everybody
  - PERL vs sanity

etc...

the only thing everybody allegedly had in common was it was everyone vs Microsoft and/or closed source software in general - but even that was never true. There seems to be some romanticizing about this alleged "community." To be fair, I felt it until about 2002... then things started bloating and it became all about "market share" and legal wrangling rather than enjoying ourselves and making computers do cool tricks for each other.

oh well.

Woe is Us (1)

thethibs (882667) | about 7 years ago | (#20145955)

We call this game "See What You Made Me Do". It's no more convincing from Shuttleworth than it is from my nine-year-old grandson.

The only thing that can really fracture (1, Insightful)

stox (131684) | about 7 years ago | (#20146051)

Open Source is the community. As long as the game is on our field, Mr. Gates does not stand a chance. Let him pull the game on to his field, and he will have a chance at winning. Don't fall for it folks! Stand together, and we will defeat the evil empire.

Re:The only thing that can really fracture (1)

east coast (590680) | about 7 years ago | (#20146069)

If you don't think that the community isn't already fractured you're living in denial.

Microsoft didn't fracture the community... (1)

stubear (130454) | about 7 years ago | (#20146113)

..they were already fractured. Microsoft just gave them enough rope to hang themselves with. If you're going to compete with Microsoft, you had better bring your A game.

Re:Microsoft didn't fracture the community... (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 7 years ago | (#20146893)

You also better know what game you're supposed to be playing. This is Microsoft's big problem. The best football game in the world won't help you at a tennis match.

"That's a really great, uncounterable move... for chess. Pity we're playing checkers. *tak* *tak* *tak* King me."

Shuttleworth quakes, but not the rest of us..... (4, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | about 7 years ago | (#20146123)

Microsoft has not, cannot, and hasn't the political will to take on the Linux community directly.

Many people have told them directly, and in no uncertain terms, so sue me. The principal of estoppel says that Microsoft will get into hot water unlike any it has ever known should it open the pandora's box of patent litigation against the F/OSS community.

Shuttleworth dances with the devil. No wonder he's hot under the collar.

Linux isn't fractured. Linux isn't hurt. Linux development and FOSS will naturally evolve. It grows stronger. It is principled, where Microsoft certainly is specifically interested solely in shareholder return. Let's see, Linux has been successfully sued how many times? How many countries has busted Linux for restraint of trade and so on? How many attorney generals have sued Linux? Now show me the assets Microsoft gets by suing Linux. There is no Linux; there are multiple OS kernels, and a freighter full of GNU and GPL's apps. There are no assets. There ARE NO VIOLATORS. The lineage of what Linux has become has been more than adequately outlined in multiple different litigations by multiple reference-able authors.

That's why the SCO-IBM litigation farce was underwritten by Microsoft (and others) and why it's so flimsy. Shuttleworth needs to re-examine his motives. Certainly a corp as large as Micorosft can make anyone quake. So can several quarters of very negative revenues make Microsoft change its tune.

Re:Shuttleworth quakes, but not the rest of us.... (1)

SuperIceBoy (787273) | about 7 years ago | (#20147171)

How does one sue Linux. It is a piece of software. That is like asking how many times Windows XP was sued, or who sued Notepad.

A common enemy unites, not fractures, a community (5, Interesting)

Qubit (100461) | about 7 years ago | (#20146141)

Before Microsoft tried the whole "patent indemnification" trick the community was less cohesive about these important issues to Free Software.

Now, after MS has made patent agreements with several companies, GPLv3 has been released, and several companies have explicitly REFUSED to sign such patent agreements with MS, the community is more cohesive -- more understanding of the importance of Free Software and in agreement that signing such patent indemnification agreements with Microsoft is a Bad Idea(tm).

As the dust settles, there are splits: Novell sits alongside Microsoft. Alongside the FSF we see Redhat, Ubuntu, Debian, and many others.

I'm excited that major vendors such as Dell and Lenovo are offering GNU/Linux pre-installed on their machines. By supporting such vendors, the Free Software community can show them that a strong demand for GNU/Linux exists. Unfortunately Lenovo will be pre-installing SuSE (from Novell) on their machines, and I encourage all of you geeks out there to WRITE to Lenovo and request that instead of SuSE they pre-install a distribution that respects Free Software such as Redhat or Ubuntu. Similarly, write to Dell and tell them that you STRONGLY appreciate the fact that they chose Ubuntu as their GNU/Linux distribution.

So to sum it up:
Keep on using the software, spend your money in support of these companies, and preach the good word of Free Software.
Peace. Love. Linux.

I didn't just write to Dell... (4, Insightful)

the_rajah (749499) | about 7 years ago | (#20147195)

I sent them money for one of their lovely Desktops with pre-installed Ubuntu. I already had an older P-III running Ubuntu nicely, but wanted to vote with my wallet. That core2 Duo with 3 Gigs of RAM runs Ubuntu extra nicely. :D

Um, linux did that to itself (1)

pyster (670298) | about 7 years ago | (#20146225)

I'm pretty sure linux has fragmented itself. GPL3 will even further fragment linux.

Heh, that article was painful to read. QQ more, noob.

Slander, Libel (1)

srobert (4099) | about 7 years ago | (#20146489)

Something about Microsoft's pronouncements that Linux developers (or even users) are violating intellectual property rights, brings up the issue of slander, (or libel). If they are saying we're all crooks, they should prove it in a court of law, or keep their mouths shut.

Re:Slander, Libel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20147033)

why waste money? quite a few wimps bow to their new master without court proof anyway.
maybe the community as a whole should get some balls and stop shivering when MS clanks its chain before barking all the time and showing the white feather.

ENDERLE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20146569)

But Enderle has hooks into ZD and eWeek. Why would they publish an interview with Shuttleworth? One reason only: they're gloating.

yuo fail It (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20146861)

was at the s4me How is the GNAA sling, return it to The project then Jordan Hubbard poor dead last
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