Microsoft about to enter into patent war?

Fortune Magazine has an in-depth article about Microsoft and its claim that free software infringes on 235 of its patents. I don’t know where the truth lies, but Microsoft has more than 800 lawyers and it looks like they are going to make sure that they remain relevant through legal action. This has deep implications for a whole sector of our economy because there are lots of companies that rely on free software (Google being the mindshare leader that I can think of, but most of the startups I interview use LAMP, Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP, to build their companies).

Microsoft up to this point has used patents defensively (i.e., only if sued themselves) but the gestures that the leadership is sending to the marketplace lately is that they are about to enter into a more offensive phase of using patents.

UPDATE: TechMeme has a lot more reactions on this issue.

Comments

  1. It is rather sad that Microsoft’s leadership decided to go along this path. It is sadder that this happens after Microsoft shook hands with Novel in an effort to “recognize and support” open source initiatives.

    It is a little early to jump into conclusions as to what the effect of this decision (to fight for IP) might be, because Microsoft never really came forward with an actual list of patents being infringed by open source software. A number is a number (and like 235 they could just as easily say 1256 or 9), I want to read the cold hard facts.

  2. It is rather sad that Microsoft’s leadership decided to go along this path. It is sadder that this happens after Microsoft shook hands with Novel in an effort to “recognize and support” open source initiatives.

    It is a little early to jump into conclusions as to what the effect of this decision (to fight for IP) might be, because Microsoft never really came forward with an actual list of patents being infringed by open source software. A number is a number (and like 235 they could just as easily say 1256 or 9), I want to read the cold hard facts.

  3. Software patents need to be gotten rid of completely and big name people need to take a big-time stand against this kind of crap.

  4. Microsoft is seeing open source like Linux and Firefox as more and more of a threat- and instead of stopping open source by developing better software, they seem content to try to sue it out of existence.

  5. Microsoft is seeing open source like Linux and Firefox as more and more of a threat- and instead of stopping open source by developing better software, they seem content to try to sue it out of existence.

  6. That’s a very outrageous action.

    I hope that it’s not true. I recently got a job offer from MS and I was very excited about it. But it seems that the image of the company is really tarnished. In general, MS is perceived as a company that only copies and sue (which IS totally not true). But you cannot change the perception of people…

    Honestly, OOS and propriety software should be able to co-exist. And OOS companies (even FSF) are pushing MS back to its innovative edge such as Silverlight.

    In general, I agree that it’s a strategic move to patent “defensively”… you never know who would be jealous of the large cash pile and starts suing with lawyers but not innovating with developers. But patent offensively and then starts suing? That’s a very cheap move. Even as a fanboy I gotta say that not EVERYONE needs to buy MS software. We need to buy the BEST software that worth spending for. Let’s gear toward making the BEST software (and open source some of it so people know how smart you’re instead of complaining how greedy you are).

    Honestly, now I really have my doubts about working for MS. I don’t know how many college hires will read this, but, we all want to work for the BEST company, not the RICHEST nor the one with the MOST LAWYERS…

  7. That’s a very outrageous action.

    I hope that it’s not true. I recently got a job offer from MS and I was very excited about it. But it seems that the image of the company is really tarnished. In general, MS is perceived as a company that only copies and sue (which IS totally not true). But you cannot change the perception of people…

    Honestly, OOS and propriety software should be able to co-exist. And OOS companies (even FSF) are pushing MS back to its innovative edge such as Silverlight.

    In general, I agree that it’s a strategic move to patent “defensively”… you never know who would be jealous of the large cash pile and starts suing with lawyers but not innovating with developers. But patent offensively and then starts suing? That’s a very cheap move. Even as a fanboy I gotta say that not EVERYONE needs to buy MS software. We need to buy the BEST software that worth spending for. Let’s gear toward making the BEST software (and open source some of it so people know how smart you’re instead of complaining how greedy you are).

    Honestly, now I really have my doubts about working for MS. I don’t know how many college hires will read this, but, we all want to work for the BEST company, not the RICHEST nor the one with the MOST LAWYERS…

  8. Chris DiBona, Google Open Source Programs Manager, will talk about “A Year of Open Source at Google” in New York on Wednesday 6:30 PM Google NYC 76 Ninth Avenue

  9. Chris DiBona, Google Open Source Programs Manager, will talk about “A Year of Open Source at Google” in New York on Wednesday 6:30 PM Google NYC 76 Ninth Avenue

  10. They’re not suing anyone. Read the article — they simply want royalties for their work.

    Assuming you believe software is patentable, read on (if you don’t, stop reading here.) Royalties are an accepted way to be compensated for your IP. And, to those who say they haven’t create anything patentable, consider their R&D budget — it’s probably $6 billion per year by now. Doesn’t it seem fair for them to be able to seek compensation for the results achieved from their R&D efforts? It happens in every other industry.

  11. They’re not suing anyone. Read the article — they simply want royalties for their work.

    Assuming you believe software is patentable, read on (if you don’t, stop reading here.) Royalties are an accepted way to be compensated for your IP. And, to those who say they haven’t create anything patentable, consider their R&D budget — it’s probably $6 billion per year by now. Doesn’t it seem fair for them to be able to seek compensation for the results achieved from their R&D efforts? It happens in every other industry.

  12. Offensive is the key word here. MS doesn’t have many friends these days, and they really don’t need to be the new SCO.

  13. Offensive is the key word here. MS doesn’t have many friends these days, and they really don’t need to be the new SCO.

  14. Funny how Microsoft has said that they have all this IP and all these patents being infringed by FOSS, yet they never seem to get around to saying what they are.

    Sad. It shows how little confidence Ballmer has in his own game. Instead of creating killer products, he now wants to sue everyone else to keep THEM from creating killer products. What a pathetic little jackass he really is.

  15. Funny how Microsoft has said that they have all this IP and all these patents being infringed by FOSS, yet they never seem to get around to saying what they are.

    Sad. It shows how little confidence Ballmer has in his own game. Instead of creating killer products, he now wants to sue everyone else to keep THEM from creating killer products. What a pathetic little jackass he really is.

  16. @ anon

    >Doesn’t it seem fair for them to be able to seek compensation for the results achieved from their R&D efforts?

    It does. I would, however, ask what results you are talking about. If they are spending $6 billion on R&D you have to wonder whether they are spending wisely. R&D South doesn’t spend anything like that.

  17. @ anon

    >Doesn’t it seem fair for them to be able to seek compensation for the results achieved from their R&D efforts?

    It does. I would, however, ask what results you are talking about. If they are spending $6 billion on R&D you have to wonder whether they are spending wisely. R&D South doesn’t spend anything like that.

  18. “Instead of creating killer products, he now wants to sue everyone else to keep THEM from creating killer products”

    I don’t know, do you have proof that he wants to sue someone?

  19. “Instead of creating killer products, he now wants to sue everyone else to keep THEM from creating killer products”

    I don’t know, do you have proof that he wants to sue someone?

  20. the gestures that the leadership is sending

    In these corporate mixed-signal games, just the threat is sometimes enough. But least thing Microsoft needs is more lawsuits, besides, they went thru a lawsuit-free spree, paying off everyone, and they want to kick up the dust all over again? I don’t believe it, just a future threat, to prevent any PRESENT action.

  21. the gestures that the leadership is sending

    In these corporate mixed-signal games, just the threat is sometimes enough. But least thing Microsoft needs is more lawsuits, besides, they went thru a lawsuit-free spree, paying off everyone, and they want to kick up the dust all over again? I don’t believe it, just a future threat, to prevent any PRESENT action.

  22. I also disagree with software patents, but at the same time, I don’t think this will go anywhere, especially in Europe.

    For one, Linux the kernel is not owned by any one person, but the people. Yes, it’s maintained by people, but under the GPL. Good luck suiing individuals, especially in other countries.

    Thankfully, the EU takes a dim view to software patents.

    In the final analysis, I think that MS is threatening this because they are becoming less and less relevant and they know it. They know they cannot beat free software in the marketplace fairly, so they are possibly resorting to litigious nonsense.

    Good luck, MS. You cannot sue the GPL/BSD/MIT, etc licenses into submission. Accept the fact the world is changing and learn to just be another player in the marketplace. Your days as top dog are long gone.

  23. I also disagree with software patents, but at the same time, I don’t think this will go anywhere, especially in Europe.

    For one, Linux the kernel is not owned by any one person, but the people. Yes, it’s maintained by people, but under the GPL. Good luck suiing individuals, especially in other countries.

    Thankfully, the EU takes a dim view to software patents.

    In the final analysis, I think that MS is threatening this because they are becoming less and less relevant and they know it. They know they cannot beat free software in the marketplace fairly, so they are possibly resorting to litigious nonsense.

    Good luck, MS. You cannot sue the GPL/BSD/MIT, etc licenses into submission. Accept the fact the world is changing and learn to just be another player in the marketplace. Your days as top dog are long gone.

  24. I suppose Microsoft suing to protect their patents is slightly more palatable than the companies whose sole purpose is to buy patents and sue anyone who comes close to violating them.

    This would play better for Microsoft if they identified a portion of their patents that they feel should legitimately be freely used by anyone, and find a way to give them to the world.

  25. I suppose Microsoft suing to protect their patents is slightly more palatable than the companies whose sole purpose is to buy patents and sue anyone who comes close to violating them.

    This would play better for Microsoft if they identified a portion of their patents that they feel should legitimately be freely used by anyone, and find a way to give them to the world.

  26. FUD. Microsoft practically invented it.

    Fortune, as usual, provides plenty of newsprint to help spread the FUD around.

    The strategy almost works. Almost. Unfortunately, for Microsoft though, FUD works wonderfully against small commercial competitors, but it just won’t work against free software. The article demonstrates this beautifully by ending with a “no comment” on whether or not Microsoft will sue it’s own customers. :-)

  27. FUD. Microsoft practically invented it.

    Fortune, as usual, provides plenty of newsprint to help spread the FUD around.

    The strategy almost works. Almost. Unfortunately, for Microsoft though, FUD works wonderfully against small commercial competitors, but it just won’t work against free software. The article demonstrates this beautifully by ending with a “no comment” on whether or not Microsoft will sue it’s own customers. :-)

  28. It’s pointless. They could kill, say, RedHat, or maybe even Sun (and we’d miss them both) but they can’t kill independent developers all over the world. Software patents are basically a US invention, not recognized anywhere else (except maybe Japan…)

    “And, to those who say they haven’t create anything patentable, consider their R&D budget — it’s probably $6 billion per year by now. Doesn’t it seem fair for them to be able to seek compensation for the results achieved from their R&D efforts?”

    Of course they deserve compensation. It’s called copyright, not patents. You can’t patent music or recipes, just like you can’t patent software in most of the world.

  29. It’s pointless. They could kill, say, RedHat, or maybe even Sun (and we’d miss them both) but they can’t kill independent developers all over the world. Software patents are basically a US invention, not recognized anywhere else (except maybe Japan…)

    “And, to those who say they haven’t create anything patentable, consider their R&D budget — it’s probably $6 billion per year by now. Doesn’t it seem fair for them to be able to seek compensation for the results achieved from their R&D efforts?”

    Of course they deserve compensation. It’s called copyright, not patents. You can’t patent music or recipes, just like you can’t patent software in most of the world.

  30. Now is when I laugh at all the Microsoft fanboys who kept telling me “but Microsoft has no history of offensive patent litigation”.

    See, this is why you don’t trust a company like them as far as you can throw them. Pathetic.

  31. Now is when I laugh at all the Microsoft fanboys who kept telling me “but Microsoft has no history of offensive patent litigation”.

    See, this is why you don’t trust a company like them as far as you can throw them. Pathetic.

  32. As a member of the FSF, who heard a speech from Stallman and Moglen on this very subject about 2 months ago, I would say you are way off. Next year I challenge you to go with me to the FSF meeting so you know what you’re talking about when you speak about this subject again.

    You forget SO easily who is behind Linux, and how many patents THEY have. MANY, MANY, MANNNYYYYYY more than Microsoft will ever have. They are the undisputed patent kings. And if Microsoft starts shooting, they will be shot dead worse than Alcatel-Lucent, Eolas, and company combined.

    The only reason Microsoft did the patent deal, first with Red Hat who rejected it, then with Novell, is to push the projection of danger.

    Ultimately that is all they have. First they tried to fund SCO, then reneged:
    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=555641

    When that didn’t work, and Martin Taylor’s get the facts with the forged white papers didn’t work, they set up http://port25.technet.com and quickly made a deal to do the IP coverage and open a lab with Novell to “match” the OSDL. Since then the Samba project leader left Novell, and so did their top developer:
    http://rlove.org/log/

    Unfortunately, you are not in the know, and neither is Fortune. But you could be, and you refuse.

  33. As a member of the FSF, who heard a speech from Stallman and Moglen on this very subject about 2 months ago, I would say you are way off. Next year I challenge you to go with me to the FSF meeting so you know what you’re talking about when you speak about this subject again.

    You forget SO easily who is behind Linux, and how many patents THEY have. MANY, MANY, MANNNYYYYYY more than Microsoft will ever have. They are the undisputed patent kings. And if Microsoft starts shooting, they will be shot dead worse than Alcatel-Lucent, Eolas, and company combined.

    The only reason Microsoft did the patent deal, first with Red Hat who rejected it, then with Novell, is to push the projection of danger.

    Ultimately that is all they have. First they tried to fund SCO, then reneged:
    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=555641

    When that didn’t work, and Martin Taylor’s get the facts with the forged white papers didn’t work, they set up http://port25.technet.com and quickly made a deal to do the IP coverage and open a lab with Novell to “match” the OSDL. Since then the Samba project leader left Novell, and so did their top developer:
    http://rlove.org/log/

    Unfortunately, you are not in the know, and neither is Fortune. But you could be, and you refuse.

  34. @14

    Perfectly said. MS knows its castle is surrounded and that they are being starved out. This is a tactic that plainly shows desperation.

    Free software is a good idea and will flourish despite anything MS does. People deserve free software both in freedom and in price.

  35. OK, I wasn’t fair to Fortune magazine, they actually had most of the facts, it’s just your short article that misrepresents them.

  36. @14

    Perfectly said. MS knows its castle is surrounded and that they are being starved out. This is a tactic that plainly shows desperation.

    Free software is a good idea and will flourish despite anything MS does. People deserve free software both in freedom and in price.

  37. OK, I wasn’t fair to Fortune magazine, they actually had most of the facts, it’s just your short article that misrepresents them.

  38. @14

    “It’s pointless. They could kill, say, RedHat”

    Ballmer was actually negotiating with Red Hat. He had offered them the same deal as Novell, and they threw it back in his face. He went to Novell as a last resort, then lied to them about an exclusivity clause in order to get them to sign it. Saying it was an exclusive deal, then 2 days before closing, reneged on that, when the deal was all but done.

    Microsoft tried heavily to buy out Linux so the DOJ couldn’t intervene, but the companies that put up these communities did not cave in. Except Novell, and their people are leaving now.

  39. @14

    “It’s pointless. They could kill, say, RedHat”

    Ballmer was actually negotiating with Red Hat. He had offered them the same deal as Novell, and they threw it back in his face. He went to Novell as a last resort, then lied to them about an exclusivity clause in order to get them to sign it. Saying it was an exclusive deal, then 2 days before closing, reneged on that, when the deal was all but done.

    Microsoft tried heavily to buy out Linux so the DOJ couldn’t intervene, but the companies that put up these communities did not cave in. Except Novell, and their people are leaving now.

  40. Well, Microsoft has always been thinking they’ve got patents that Linux violates. In fact, do you recollect SCO vs. IBM? That looks like a war that ends with one company becoming bankrupt ;-)

    Software patents itself, are silly.

    Novell recently got into bed with Microsoft to “avoid” such patent problems. Of course, they did it to survive, and everyone generally views them as a sell out…

    Keep in mind that if you buy Red Hat, you’re protected against lawsuits. FWIW, that also applies to Novell these days.

    So is Microsoft going to start suing? I seriously, doubt it. They’ve also recently started “loving” open source – look at their Port25 effort.

  41. Well, Microsoft has always been thinking they’ve got patents that Linux violates. In fact, do you recollect SCO vs. IBM? That looks like a war that ends with one company becoming bankrupt ;-)

    Software patents itself, are silly.

    Novell recently got into bed with Microsoft to “avoid” such patent problems. Of course, they did it to survive, and everyone generally views them as a sell out…

    Keep in mind that if you buy Red Hat, you’re protected against lawsuits. FWIW, that also applies to Novell these days.

    So is Microsoft going to start suing? I seriously, doubt it. They’ve also recently started “loving” open source – look at their Port25 effort.

  42. @25

    “So is Microsoft going to start suing?”

    That would be fun to watch. So many disparate patents are out there the touch Windows components it’s not even funny. By the time it’s over Bill Gates will be eligible for emergency relief funding from his own foundation.

    Once the bigger ones starts suing in retaliation, the smaller ones will get bolder like Eolas, and then all hell will break loose.

    It would be the best thing for Linux evAr.

  43. @25

    “So is Microsoft going to start suing?”

    That would be fun to watch. So many disparate patents are out there the touch Windows components it’s not even funny. By the time it’s over Bill Gates will be eligible for emergency relief funding from his own foundation.

    Once the bigger ones starts suing in retaliation, the smaller ones will get bolder like Eolas, and then all hell will break loose.

    It would be the best thing for Linux evAr.

  44. So is Microsoft going to start suing? I seriously, doubt it. They’ve also recently started “loving” open source – look at their Port25 effort.

    That definitely deserves the quotes. Talk about winning the award for meaningless marketing site of the year.

  45. So is Microsoft going to start suing? I seriously, doubt it. They’ve also recently started “loving” open source – look at their Port25 effort.

    That definitely deserves the quotes. Talk about winning the award for meaningless marketing site of the year.

  46. From the article: “Microsoft seemingly barred from striking pacts with distributors, only one avenue appears open to it: paying more friendly visits to its Fortune 500 customers, seeking direct licenses.”

    Microsoft – I hope – knows it is not wise to start the patent armageddon using law suits, because there is too much to figure out yet. 235 patents were identified and they are working on strategies to use that knowledge to get IP royalties but it is still a work in progress IMHO.

    Microsoft is starting to understand open source so they are trying to learn by doing but free software is still so difficult to understand for them and this is where they are testing general reactions with this type of interviews.

  47. From the article: “Microsoft seemingly barred from striking pacts with distributors, only one avenue appears open to it: paying more friendly visits to its Fortune 500 customers, seeking direct licenses.”

    Microsoft – I hope – knows it is not wise to start the patent armageddon using law suits, because there is too much to figure out yet. 235 patents were identified and they are working on strategies to use that knowledge to get IP royalties but it is still a work in progress IMHO.

    Microsoft is starting to understand open source so they are trying to learn by doing but free software is still so difficult to understand for them and this is where they are testing general reactions with this type of interviews.

  48. Most “patented” software was either directly listed or indirectly described back in 1970 or earlier educational books for Computer Science.
    I agree completely with everyone quoted here — software patents are ridiculous and need to be gotten rid of, ASAP.

  49. Most “patented” software was either directly listed or indirectly described back in 1970 or earlier educational books for Computer Science.
    I agree completely with everyone quoted here — software patents are ridiculous and need to be gotten rid of, ASAP.

  50. This would be a huge mistake for MS to make. They may think they’re immune to what the market wants, but Intel found out the hard way when they tried to force RAMBUS down the market’s throat, and look how many billions *that* cost them. The market doesn’t exactly love Vista, either, but they’re still in denial about that as far as I can see. And Digg recently found out the hard way what happens when you try to force things on people they don’t want.

  51. This would be a huge mistake for MS to make. They may think they’re immune to what the market wants, but Intel found out the hard way when they tried to force RAMBUS down the market’s throat, and look how many billions *that* cost them. The market doesn’t exactly love Vista, either, but they’re still in denial about that as far as I can see. And Digg recently found out the hard way what happens when you try to force things on people they don’t want.

  52. They are just making noise to show themselves relevant. They just cannot do it because FSF can countersue them and put them through the same “ordeal”. It is a plain case of Microsoft bullshitting in desperation. Probably they think that they can bring down google by attacking the open source software that make up Google’s infrastructure. Well, it is just the desperate whine they are making before they go down.

  53. They are just making noise to show themselves relevant. They just cannot do it because FSF can countersue them and put them through the same “ordeal”. It is a plain case of Microsoft bullshitting in desperation. Probably they think that they can bring down google by attacking the open source software that make up Google’s infrastructure. Well, it is just the desperate whine they are making before they go down.

  54. We will see how this one turns out, on one side we’ve got Microsoft with its patents and on the other side the Open Innovation Network supported by IBM, Philips, Sony, Oracle and some other companies. And they’ve got a patent portfolio which definitely is bigger, and entails some interesting stuff.

    For one side I’m happy when they go along, as it will indefinitely assure that the EU will never get software patents. And i can already see some eyebrows frowning in Neelie Smith Kroes’s office.

    Secondly, they will have to go to their own customers, telling them “hey, you’ve got OSS running, on top of the licence you already pay we want X amount of license for OSS because it infringes on our patents… (I would like to see the faces of some CIO’s and CFO’s when that message comes along, and the decision about implementing Vista is a few days later on there desk..)

    Thirdly, until the patent is validated in court, it’s merely a threat.. And my take is that there will be a lot of prior art.

    Fourth, up until now they’ve been telling us that FOSS isn’t a threat, why go after something that doesn’t pose a threat..

    Fifth, it’s never smart to let lawyers dictate which route you’re company should take…..

    Sixth, it will ensure that a lot of OSS will implement GPL3, and i doubt they will be very happy when that happens.

  55. We will see how this one turns out, on one side we’ve got Microsoft with its patents and on the other side the Open Innovation Network supported by IBM, Philips, Sony, Oracle and some other companies. And they’ve got a patent portfolio which definitely is bigger, and entails some interesting stuff.

    For one side I’m happy when they go along, as it will indefinitely assure that the EU will never get software patents. And i can already see some eyebrows frowning in Neelie Smith Kroes’s office.

    Secondly, they will have to go to their own customers, telling them “hey, you’ve got OSS running, on top of the licence you already pay we want X amount of license for OSS because it infringes on our patents… (I would like to see the faces of some CIO’s and CFO’s when that message comes along, and the decision about implementing Vista is a few days later on there desk..)

    Thirdly, until the patent is validated in court, it’s merely a threat.. And my take is that there will be a lot of prior art.

    Fourth, up until now they’ve been telling us that FOSS isn’t a threat, why go after something that doesn’t pose a threat..

    Fifth, it’s never smart to let lawyers dictate which route you’re company should take…..

    Sixth, it will ensure that a lot of OSS will implement GPL3, and i doubt they will be very happy when that happens.

  56. Wow, you people are wierd. They have no history of suing over patent infringment (I can only think of one case), so umm, why should they start now exactly? Are they struggling for profits? No. Are they losing marketshare in the areas relevant to them? No.

    Think, people, think.

    Ballmer wants another Novell style deal is all.

  57. Wow, you people are wierd. They have no history of suing over patent infringment (I can only think of one case), so umm, why should they start now exactly? Are they struggling for profits? No. Are they losing marketshare in the areas relevant to them? No.

    Think, people, think.

    Ballmer wants another Novell style deal is all.

  58. You know all those years you told us Microsoft was different? That they weren’t evil, crazy monopolist hell-bent on squashing innovation in any production competing with them?

    Turns out, you were wrong. :(

    Today, we saw the same old monopolist, just twisted a little — now he’s trying to use the broken US patent system to squeeze money out of big companies and to scare small ones into using Microsoft products.

    If you’re a developer, does this give you the warm fuzzies about developing on top of Silverlight? If you’re a user, doesn’t it make you want to go run out and install Ubuntu? If you care about the future of innovation on the web, do you think Microsoft is helping?

    Ugh. It’s like every paranoid /. kiddie’s fantasy is coming real — I can’t wait to see the headlines the first company Microosft sues for not using an ‘approved’ Linux distro.

  59. You know all those years you told us Microsoft was different? That they weren’t evil, crazy monopolist hell-bent on squashing innovation in any production competing with them?

    Turns out, you were wrong. :(

    Today, we saw the same old monopolist, just twisted a little — now he’s trying to use the broken US patent system to squeeze money out of big companies and to scare small ones into using Microsoft products.

    If you’re a developer, does this give you the warm fuzzies about developing on top of Silverlight? If you’re a user, doesn’t it make you want to go run out and install Ubuntu? If you care about the future of innovation on the web, do you think Microsoft is helping?

    Ugh. It’s like every paranoid /. kiddie’s fantasy is coming real — I can’t wait to see the headlines the first company Microosft sues for not using an ‘approved’ Linux distro.

  60. Jake: so far it’s just posturing. The first suit hasn’t been filed yet. Let’s worry — a little bit. But let’s not get ahead of reality either, OK?

    But, I don’t remember saying Microsoft wasn’t going to compete and wasn’t going to take advantage of its patents or other things it has in the market place. Last I looked a patent is still something that our system reveres. A patent basically hands an inventor a monopoly for 17 years. Microsoft wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t protect its patent portfolio.

    Now, does it really have proof that its patents have been infringed on? Then it should do what Tim Bray said today: go to court or shut up.

    The gestures that the leadership is sending to the marketplace sure aren’t increasing its PR value, that’s for sure.

  61. Jake: so far it’s just posturing. The first suit hasn’t been filed yet. Let’s worry — a little bit. But let’s not get ahead of reality either, OK?

    But, I don’t remember saying Microsoft wasn’t going to compete and wasn’t going to take advantage of its patents or other things it has in the market place. Last I looked a patent is still something that our system reveres. A patent basically hands an inventor a monopoly for 17 years. Microsoft wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t protect its patent portfolio.

    Now, does it really have proof that its patents have been infringed on? Then it should do what Tim Bray said today: go to court or shut up.

    The gestures that the leadership is sending to the marketplace sure aren’t increasing its PR value, that’s for sure.

  62. skc: just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it won’t be done in the future.

    I’ll be happy to interview Ballmer or anyone else in leadership at Microsoft and will put that full interview out without editing it so you can see everything they say. If they have no plans to litigate, they can say that on video and calm everyone down. My phone number is on my blog.

  63. skc: just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it won’t be done in the future.

    I’ll be happy to interview Ballmer or anyone else in leadership at Microsoft and will put that full interview out without editing it so you can see everything they say. If they have no plans to litigate, they can say that on video and calm everyone down. My phone number is on my blog.

  64. I’m quite simply amazed. Amazed that MS could be that stupid, that they could so openly say “F*** you” to the developers who support their platform.

    OSS is one of the biggest ways that fresh blood makes names for themselves, and get involved with something big, something real, that will make a difference to actual end users. Trying to kill this, is unbelievably stupid. Developers are the only people who matter for the long-term survival of *any* platform – and developers respect innovation, not strong-arming lawyers.

    I can’t believe what I’m reading. I really cannot believe it. I’m seriously considering changing my career direction over this, and I’m not a fresh college graduate.

  65. I’m quite simply amazed. Amazed that MS could be that stupid, that they could so openly say “F*** you” to the developers who support their platform.

    OSS is one of the biggest ways that fresh blood makes names for themselves, and get involved with something big, something real, that will make a difference to actual end users. Trying to kill this, is unbelievably stupid. Developers are the only people who matter for the long-term survival of *any* platform – and developers respect innovation, not strong-arming lawyers.

    I can’t believe what I’m reading. I really cannot believe it. I’m seriously considering changing my career direction over this, and I’m not a fresh college graduate.

  66. I’m quite simply amazed. Amazed that MS could be that stupid, that they could so openly say “F*** you” to the developers who support their platform.

    Not when your livelihood revolves around .NET and VS. Microsoft has always worked to lock in its users and developers so that they were unable to use or work with any other platform. That way, when you felt both of ballmers hands on your shoulders, your only option was to brace yourself and say “THANK YOU SIR! MAY I HAVE ANOTHER!”

  67. I’m quite simply amazed. Amazed that MS could be that stupid, that they could so openly say “F*** you” to the developers who support their platform.

    Not when your livelihood revolves around .NET and VS. Microsoft has always worked to lock in its users and developers so that they were unable to use or work with any other platform. That way, when you felt both of ballmers hands on your shoulders, your only option was to brace yourself and say “THANK YOU SIR! MAY I HAVE ANOTHER!”

  68. Come to think of it, Ballmer’s strategy, although distasteful and disgusting, is brilliant. Drive all FOSS vendors but the ones who will play ball out of business, then force the ones who sign agreements to dance to your tune.

    Eventually, all you have is Windows, and you didn’t have to do any of that silly “innovating” or “product improvement”.

  69. Come to think of it, Ballmer’s strategy, although distasteful and disgusting, is brilliant. Drive all FOSS vendors but the ones who will play ball out of business, then force the ones who sign agreements to dance to your tune.

    Eventually, all you have is Windows, and you didn’t have to do any of that silly “innovating” or “product improvement”.

  70. Patents are gay, the worst patent and one of the most effective ones at the moment is held by MP3 technologies, a patent of a digital file played by a mobile device. So from mobiles phones to iPods are screwed.

    There should be a ban on patents in any industry. In the past, patents were regarded as not necessary however it has now become a real estate issue on owning patents.

    In the future we will look back to today and see how it has affected our civilisation sooo so much. Imagine if a patent was created for wheels and tires, that would have screwed everything up, just like how we are screwing everything up now.

  71. Patents are gay, the worst patent and one of the most effective ones at the moment is held by MP3 technologies, a patent of a digital file played by a mobile device. So from mobiles phones to iPods are screwed.

    There should be a ban on patents in any industry. In the past, patents were regarded as not necessary however it has now become a real estate issue on owning patents.

    In the future we will look back to today and see how it has affected our civilisation sooo so much. Imagine if a patent was created for wheels and tires, that would have screwed everything up, just like how we are screwing everything up now.

  72. Lots of people in America have guns, just like lots of big companies have patents that touch each others’ products. LOTS of patents touch Windows and other Microsoft products.

    Even though a lot of people have guns, what purpose would it serve if everybody started shooting each other “because they can”?

    Microsoft in essence is saying, we have a gun with bullets, and now we are detailing who we’d like to kill if only our threats weren’t idol in nature.

    That’s EXACTLY what MS lawyers are doing. They are no different or better than the Iraqi minister of information.

    In a year or so even little me will have 2 patents that could easily sink MS products. The point being that once the big guns start shooting at MS over IP again, the little ones will fire as well, those companies who have no products MS can fire back on with their patents like Eolas. That would be a good thing. It would be enough to bankrupt the company outright.

  73. Lots of people in America have guns, just like lots of big companies have patents that touch each others’ products. LOTS of patents touch Windows and other Microsoft products.

    Even though a lot of people have guns, what purpose would it serve if everybody started shooting each other “because they can”?

    Microsoft in essence is saying, we have a gun with bullets, and now we are detailing who we’d like to kill if only our threats weren’t idol in nature.

    That’s EXACTLY what MS lawyers are doing. They are no different or better than the Iraqi minister of information.

    In a year or so even little me will have 2 patents that could easily sink MS products. The point being that once the big guns start shooting at MS over IP again, the little ones will fire as well, those companies who have no products MS can fire back on with their patents like Eolas. That would be a good thing. It would be enough to bankrupt the company outright.

  74. Those who can compete, compete. Those who can’t, litigate. This is the last cry of the mastodon as it sinks into the La Brea tar pits.

  75. Those who can compete, compete. Those who can’t, litigate. This is the last cry of the mastodon as it sinks into the La Brea tar pits.

  76. just read this article from Mary J. Foley over on ZDnet http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=437

    It seems to be an attack on GPL v3 and the FSF.

    It just makes me wonder they want to get into this PR fight with the FSF. Microsoft might be able to use it’s money, but on the other hand the FSF has lots of people who are willing to aid them in a counter offensive. (think about the European offensive against software patents..)

    The one that’s most likely to be overblown by negative PR will be Microsoft. It’s like opening pandora’s box. Countries without software patents will think twice before implementing them.. There will be companies that refuse to pay and wait for the lawsuit.. A counter suit from the OIN could be looming which have a lot more patents on hand to protect Linux..

    just to much stuff that can hurt them. If I would be stock owner, i wouldn’t be really that happy. In the end most lawsuits only hurt the stock price.

  77. just read this article from Mary J. Foley over on ZDnet http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=437

    It seems to be an attack on GPL v3 and the FSF.

    It just makes me wonder they want to get into this PR fight with the FSF. Microsoft might be able to use it’s money, but on the other hand the FSF has lots of people who are willing to aid them in a counter offensive. (think about the European offensive against software patents..)

    The one that’s most likely to be overblown by negative PR will be Microsoft. It’s like opening pandora’s box. Countries without software patents will think twice before implementing them.. There will be companies that refuse to pay and wait for the lawsuit.. A counter suit from the OIN could be looming which have a lot more patents on hand to protect Linux..

    just to much stuff that can hurt them. If I would be stock owner, i wouldn’t be really that happy. In the end most lawsuits only hurt the stock price.

  78. Hmmm. I read every comment on this thread so far, and there seems to be a hell of a lot of gun jumping going on.

    In every argument about Microsoft and Open Source Software you get these massive extremes of opinion. OSS will kill Microsoft stone dead. Microsoft wants to shaft OSS and stifle innovation.

    Instead of sitting at your computer with your knees jerking, why not get out and prove (to real people, not us geeks) how useful FOSS can be. Convince your pal with a small business to switch to Linux and OpenOffice. Or something like that. Start advocating OSS and people will use it.

    My wife now refuses to use Windows, she’s using Kubuntu with network storage on an MS Server. The more people who use Open Source, the less will fear it and it’ll gain the traction it needs.

    And Microsoft won’t die overnight, if it dies at all. There are plenty of suits and resellers who seek the reassurance of that little multi-coloured flag that says Windows. Plenty of engineers who crave that MCSE for their CV.

    Please get some perspective. And if you love Open Source, go out and help promote it, help establish it as a viable alternative.

  79. Hmmm. I read every comment on this thread so far, and there seems to be a hell of a lot of gun jumping going on.

    In every argument about Microsoft and Open Source Software you get these massive extremes of opinion. OSS will kill Microsoft stone dead. Microsoft wants to shaft OSS and stifle innovation.

    Instead of sitting at your computer with your knees jerking, why not get out and prove (to real people, not us geeks) how useful FOSS can be. Convince your pal with a small business to switch to Linux and OpenOffice. Or something like that. Start advocating OSS and people will use it.

    My wife now refuses to use Windows, she’s using Kubuntu with network storage on an MS Server. The more people who use Open Source, the less will fear it and it’ll gain the traction it needs.

    And Microsoft won’t die overnight, if it dies at all. There are plenty of suits and resellers who seek the reassurance of that little multi-coloured flag that says Windows. Plenty of engineers who crave that MCSE for their CV.

    Please get some perspective. And if you love Open Source, go out and help promote it, help establish it as a viable alternative.

  80. Please get some perspective. And if you love Open Source, go out and help promote it, help establish it as a viable alternative.

    You do realize that this patent threat from Microsoft is attempting to kill that idea, right?

  81. “Sad. It shows how little confidence Ballmer has in his own game. Instead of creating killer products, he now wants to sue everyone else to keep THEM from creating killer products. What a pathetic little jackass he really is.”

    Welch,
    With the current situation, creating a killer product would be useless since OSS devs would clone it and give it away for free, even if it were patented up the wazoo.

    The fact is, OSS devs do violate patents and licenses with impunity. You’re a card-carrying member of the Apple fan club, right? Then let me put this in terms you can relate to. Apple charges users $10 for an MPEG2 plugin for their QuickTime player, as a way to pay the MPEG2 license fee (passing the fee to the consumer). Meanwhile, the VideoLAN devs don’t bother paying the MPEG2 license fee for their VLC media player. So Apple honors the MPEG2 license while VideoLAN does not.

    A huge amount of OSS software violates patents/licenses. They’ve been able to get away with it because it’s not worth the effort to do anything about some guys in their garage. But once big players like IBM, Red Hat, etc, start funding them, shipping their products, and/or making money off of those products, then don’t be surprised if the license and patent holders come knocking on the door. The garage-developer working in his spare time needn’t worry, he’s still too small-fry do deal with (e.g. VideoLAN). But the big guys that make money on license-violating software should pay the royalties due to the patent holders.

  82. “Sad. It shows how little confidence Ballmer has in his own game. Instead of creating killer products, he now wants to sue everyone else to keep THEM from creating killer products. What a pathetic little jackass he really is.”

    Welch,
    With the current situation, creating a killer product would be useless since OSS devs would clone it and give it away for free, even if it were patented up the wazoo.

    The fact is, OSS devs do violate patents and licenses with impunity. You’re a card-carrying member of the Apple fan club, right? Then let me put this in terms you can relate to. Apple charges users $10 for an MPEG2 plugin for their QuickTime player, as a way to pay the MPEG2 license fee (passing the fee to the consumer). Meanwhile, the VideoLAN devs don’t bother paying the MPEG2 license fee for their VLC media player. So Apple honors the MPEG2 license while VideoLAN does not.

    A huge amount of OSS software violates patents/licenses. They’ve been able to get away with it because it’s not worth the effort to do anything about some guys in their garage. But once big players like IBM, Red Hat, etc, start funding them, shipping their products, and/or making money off of those products, then don’t be surprised if the license and patent holders come knocking on the door. The garage-developer working in his spare time needn’t worry, he’s still too small-fry do deal with (e.g. VideoLAN). But the big guys that make money on license-violating software should pay the royalties due to the patent holders.

  83. Please get some perspective. And if you love Open Source, go out and help promote it, help establish it as a viable alternative.

    You do realize that this patent threat from Microsoft is attempting to kill that idea, right?

  84. In the light of the infringement claim, I would like to highlight a quote from BillG to Steve Jobs.

    “Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.” (full article please see the link)

    Had Xerox suited MS, BillG wouldn’t be the richest person in the world. So… for those Softies reading this, please revive the corporate conscience and stop the madness.

  85. In the light of the infringement claim, I would like to highlight a quote from BillG to Steve Jobs.

    “Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.” (full article please see the link)

    Had Xerox suited MS, BillG wouldn’t be the richest person in the world. So… for those Softies reading this, please revive the corporate conscience and stop the madness.

  86. @50:

    You say that like OSS is the only ones doing this. I know you say there’s a reason why OSS hasn’t been sued before, but how many times has MS been sued successfully for patent infringement? I don’t know the exact number, but it’s more than 0!

    The biggest problem here is that you’re right, products are patented up the wazoo, but it’s not because they’re innovative by any means.

    Just recently MS added a feature to Visual Studio that has existed in another IDE called BlueJ since the mid 90s. Then, they patented it( http://www.bluej.org/mrt/?p=21 ).

    The patent office has no idea what’s innovative and what isn’t. A guy just the other day got a patent for what is essentially a doubly-linked list. I think I learned that in second semester university!

    There are even attempts to change the patent system to “not first to create but first to patent”. That is to say, you could do something really innovative and purposefully not patent it so the world can use it freely… then I could patent it and then sue you.

    The problem is that the entire patent system (especially when it comes to software) is broken.

    Microsoft are just as bad as OSS when it comes to stealing ideas, so don’t imply that it’s all one sided ‘stealing’.

  87. @50:

    You say that like OSS is the only ones doing this. I know you say there’s a reason why OSS hasn’t been sued before, but how many times has MS been sued successfully for patent infringement? I don’t know the exact number, but it’s more than 0!

    The biggest problem here is that you’re right, products are patented up the wazoo, but it’s not because they’re innovative by any means.

    Just recently MS added a feature to Visual Studio that has existed in another IDE called BlueJ since the mid 90s. Then, they patented it( http://www.bluej.org/mrt/?p=21 ).

    The patent office has no idea what’s innovative and what isn’t. A guy just the other day got a patent for what is essentially a doubly-linked list. I think I learned that in second semester university!

    There are even attempts to change the patent system to “not first to create but first to patent”. That is to say, you could do something really innovative and purposefully not patent it so the world can use it freely… then I could patent it and then sue you.

    The problem is that the entire patent system (especially when it comes to software) is broken.

    Microsoft are just as bad as OSS when it comes to stealing ideas, so don’t imply that it’s all one sided ‘stealing’.

  88. SCO FUD redux.

    “…Someday, for all countries that are entering WTO [the World Trade Organization], somebody will come and look for money to pay for the patent rights for that intellectual property. So, the licensing costs are less clear than people think today.” – Steve Ballmer, Nov. 2004.

    I guess the time has come. Port25 and Microsoft “openness” indeed.

    Disgusting, despicable morally & ethically bankrupt monopoly. Time for every independent FOSS developer to make a stand. It may very well be your last.

  89. SCO FUD redux.

    “…Someday, for all countries that are entering WTO [the World Trade Organization], somebody will come and look for money to pay for the patent rights for that intellectual property. So, the licensing costs are less clear than people think today.” – Steve Ballmer, Nov. 2004.

    I guess the time has come. Port25 and Microsoft “openness” indeed.

    Disgusting, despicable morally & ethically bankrupt monopoly. Time for every independent FOSS developer to make a stand. It may very well be your last.

  90. Microsoft is doing so much well in last years and now this..

    I can see Microsoft hatering coming back, as 1999/2000

  91. Microsoft is doing so much well in last years and now this..

    I can see Microsoft hatering coming back, as 1999/2000

  92. Well well well – we oss’ers have been expecting this and that Microsofts partners baystar, sco, and novell have been scr*w*d.

    Robert – software patents are /dev/null in europe. Microsoft even threatened Denmark when they failed. This means more oss in europe and less in america.

    If you think patenting complier break points (you know prior art) is a good use of american patents then discuss the proper issue usa pto reform.

    Ibm took Sco (really Microsoft) to the cleaners, MS then dumped Darl McBride. The lesson here is that partnering with microsoft is a way to find yourself with no IT products. Novell is going that way – the ceo of Novell recently said that all his companies products where rubbish.

    I can live without the organisations of Sco,Novell and Microsoft. So sue away.

  93. Well well well – we oss’ers have been expecting this and that Microsofts partners baystar, sco, and novell have been scr*w*d.

    Robert – software patents are /dev/null in europe. Microsoft even threatened Denmark when they failed. This means more oss in europe and less in america.

    If you think patenting complier break points (you know prior art) is a good use of american patents then discuss the proper issue usa pto reform.

    Ibm took Sco (really Microsoft) to the cleaners, MS then dumped Darl McBride. The lesson here is that partnering with microsoft is a way to find yourself with no IT products. Novell is going that way – the ceo of Novell recently said that all his companies products where rubbish.

    I can live without the organisations of Sco,Novell and Microsoft. So sue away.

  94. Everyone here is missing the most significant point:

    What does this say to developers who are considering adopting Silverlight? Will people believe that Microsoft will maintain cross-platform support for Silverlight given these infringement threats.

    Silverlight is the single most important initiative at Microsoft and they are going to shoot themselves in the foot. So stupid…

  95. Everyone here is missing the most significant point:

    What does this say to developers who are considering adopting Silverlight? Will people believe that Microsoft will maintain cross-platform support for Silverlight given these infringement threats.

    Silverlight is the single most important initiative at Microsoft and they are going to shoot themselves in the foot. So stupid…

  96. Sad. It shows how little confidence Ballmer has in his own game. Instead of creating killer products, he now wants to sue everyone else to keep THEM from creating killer products. What a pathetic little jackass he really is.”

    Welch,
    With the current situation, creating a killer product would be useless since OSS devs would clone it and give it away for free, even if it were patented up the wazoo.

    Right. So where’s the dead on free knockoffs of iLife? Photoshop? (Don’t even start with GiMP, that’s a crackhead’s version of photoshop, with TEH UGLEE UI) Final Cut Pro? Premiere Pro? I don’t mean applications that KIND of do the same things, but ones with the same level of fit and polish, and are free. Oddly enough, you don’t see many. Wonder why that is?

    The fact is, OSS devs do violate patents and licenses with impunity. You’re a card-carrying member of the Apple fan club, right? Then let me put this in terms you can relate to. Apple charges users $10 for an MPEG2 plugin for their QuickTime player, as a way to pay the MPEG2 license fee (passing the fee to the consumer). Meanwhile, the VideoLAN devs don’t bother paying the MPEG2 license fee for their VLC media player. So Apple honors the MPEG2 license while VideoLAN does not.

    Apple also eats all the MPEG 4 costs, and passes none of that along, what’s your point. Apple is making $7.50 on every MPEG2 plugin you download. that’s not a bad bit of profit.

    On VLC, they kind of do a bit of dancing around it, but address this issue here: http://download.videolan.org/doc/faq/en/videolan-faq-en.pdf:

    3.4. What about personal/commercial usage?
    Some of the codecs distributed with VLC are patented and require you to pay royalties to their licensors. These are mostly the MPEG style codecs. With many products the producer pays the license body (in this case MPEG LA (http://www.mpegla.com)) so the user (commercial or personal) does not have to take care of this. VLC (and ffmpeg and libmpeg2 which it uses in
    most of these cases) cannot do this because they are Free and Open Source implementations of these codecs. The software is not sold and therefore the end-user becomes responsible for complying to the licensing and royalty
    requirements. You will need to contact the licensor on how to comply to these licenses.
    This goes for playing a DVD with VLC for your personal joy ($2.50 one time payment to MPEG LA) as well as for using VLC for streaming a live event in MPEG-4 over the Internet.

    So it appears that since VLC isn’t selling, it’s up to the user to fork over the $2.50. If that’s incorrect, i’m real sure that MPEGLA can handle talking to VLC.

    A huge amount of OSS software violates patents/licenses. They’ve been able to get away with it because it’s not worth the effort to do anything about some guys in their garage.

    Again, show me the money. Show me all the patents that FOSS violates with impunity. Because so far, your example kind of sucks.

    But once big players like IBM, Red Hat, etc, start funding them, shipping their products, and/or making money off of those products, then don’t be surprised if the license and patent holders come knocking on the door.

    Think about the patents IBM holds for a minute. Think about what that will cost Microsoft if they decide to NOT be nice guys about such things. Remember that IBM invented and patented most of what you use on any computer. IBM is SO not the company to go dicking with about patents and IP. Just ask SCO how that’s working for them.

    The garage-developer working in his spare time needn’t worry, he’s still too small-fry do deal with (e.g. VideoLAN). But the big guys that make money on license-violating software should pay the royalties due to the patent holders.

    Provided the patent holders show which patents are being violated, and those patents hold up in court with no prior art. Right now, Microsoft is pulling a Joe McCarthy…”I have in my hand a list of names…”

  97. Sad. It shows how little confidence Ballmer has in his own game. Instead of creating killer products, he now wants to sue everyone else to keep THEM from creating killer products. What a pathetic little jackass he really is.”

    Welch,
    With the current situation, creating a killer product would be useless since OSS devs would clone it and give it away for free, even if it were patented up the wazoo.

    Right. So where’s the dead on free knockoffs of iLife? Photoshop? (Don’t even start with GiMP, that’s a crackhead’s version of photoshop, with TEH UGLEE UI) Final Cut Pro? Premiere Pro? I don’t mean applications that KIND of do the same things, but ones with the same level of fit and polish, and are free. Oddly enough, you don’t see many. Wonder why that is?

    The fact is, OSS devs do violate patents and licenses with impunity. You’re a card-carrying member of the Apple fan club, right? Then let me put this in terms you can relate to. Apple charges users $10 for an MPEG2 plugin for their QuickTime player, as a way to pay the MPEG2 license fee (passing the fee to the consumer). Meanwhile, the VideoLAN devs don’t bother paying the MPEG2 license fee for their VLC media player. So Apple honors the MPEG2 license while VideoLAN does not.

    Apple also eats all the MPEG 4 costs, and passes none of that along, what’s your point. Apple is making $7.50 on every MPEG2 plugin you download. that’s not a bad bit of profit.

    On VLC, they kind of do a bit of dancing around it, but address this issue here: http://download.videolan.org/doc/faq/en/videolan-faq-en.pdf:

    3.4. What about personal/commercial usage?
    Some of the codecs distributed with VLC are patented and require you to pay royalties to their licensors. These are mostly the MPEG style codecs. With many products the producer pays the license body (in this case MPEG LA (http://www.mpegla.com)) so the user (commercial or personal) does not have to take care of this. VLC (and ffmpeg and libmpeg2 which it uses in
    most of these cases) cannot do this because they are Free and Open Source implementations of these codecs. The software is not sold and therefore the end-user becomes responsible for complying to the licensing and royalty
    requirements. You will need to contact the licensor on how to comply to these licenses.
    This goes for playing a DVD with VLC for your personal joy ($2.50 one time payment to MPEG LA) as well as for using VLC for streaming a live event in MPEG-4 over the Internet.

    So it appears that since VLC isn’t selling, it’s up to the user to fork over the $2.50. If that’s incorrect, i’m real sure that MPEGLA can handle talking to VLC.

    A huge amount of OSS software violates patents/licenses. They’ve been able to get away with it because it’s not worth the effort to do anything about some guys in their garage.

    Again, show me the money. Show me all the patents that FOSS violates with impunity. Because so far, your example kind of sucks.

    But once big players like IBM, Red Hat, etc, start funding them, shipping their products, and/or making money off of those products, then don’t be surprised if the license and patent holders come knocking on the door.

    Think about the patents IBM holds for a minute. Think about what that will cost Microsoft if they decide to NOT be nice guys about such things. Remember that IBM invented and patented most of what you use on any computer. IBM is SO not the company to go dicking with about patents and IP. Just ask SCO how that’s working for them.

    The garage-developer working in his spare time needn’t worry, he’s still too small-fry do deal with (e.g. VideoLAN). But the big guys that make money on license-violating software should pay the royalties due to the patent holders.

    Provided the patent holders show which patents are being violated, and those patents hold up in court with no prior art. Right now, Microsoft is pulling a Joe McCarthy…”I have in my hand a list of names…”

  98. I’ve always put my trust into SteveB to run Microsoft into the ground, and he has delivered. Has he ever delivered a master stroke like this!

    This is it, Microsoft has declared total war on their customers, and wants to sue everyone not using SUSE. Through today’s act, Microsoft have declared themselves to be outside the civilized society, and they will be dealt with accordingly, as has been SCO.

    Microsoft won’t be around by 2012.

  99. I’ve always put my trust into SteveB to run Microsoft into the ground, and he has delivered. Has he ever delivered a master stroke like this!

    This is it, Microsoft has declared total war on their customers, and wants to sue everyone not using SUSE. Through today’s act, Microsoft have declared themselves to be outside the civilized society, and they will be dealt with accordingly, as has been SCO.

    Microsoft won’t be around by 2012.

  100. Welch, did you even comprehend what you posted from the VLC site? Did you understand the ramifications of it? Or were you in such a hurry to post that you didn’t think through what it really meant. Because it goes to prove Microsoft’s argument.

    Let me quote what you quoted regarding VLC:
    “With many products the producer pays the license body (in this case MPEG LA (http://www.mpegla.com)) so the user (commercial or personal) does not have to take care of this. VLC (and ffmpeg and libmpeg2 which it uses in
    most of these cases) cannot do this because they are Free and Open Source implementations of these codecs. The software is not sold and therefore the end-user becomes responsible for complying to the licensing and royalty
    requirements. You will need to contact the licensor on how to comply to these licenses.”

    They are simply carrying the OSS party line, which is, “We violate patents without fear of being sued because we have no money. Patent holders, please go after our users instead of us.”

    These guys are clearly in violation, and admit it. They could easily accept donations to cover the licenses, but can’t be bothered. And MPEG2 is just *one* of the licenses they violate. WMV is another. Flip4Mac pays the WMV license, VLC does not. Why? Because VLC is an OSS dev, and OSS devs Do NOT GIVE A DARN ABOUT HONORING PATENTS/ROYALTY FEES. Which is Microsoft’s position.

    Microsoft was ordered to pay 1.5 billion for violating the mp3 license (when they weren’t even violating it with malice; it was ruled that those they indemnified violated it by licensing it from the wrong party; give me a break), and Microsoft haters cheered. They want Microsoft, Flip4Mac, etc to honor patents, but feel that OSS is too pure for such triflings.

    And you seem to defend the position that the users should be sued rather than the devs of the patent-violating software. A truly dispicable position for you to take; and you have the gall to call Ballmer pathetic? Look in the mirror.

    Now, we see that VLC’s only defense is that they have no money, so can’t (and don’t fear) being sued. But Red Hat, et al, do have plenty of money, so they should be held liable for patent violation. Do you at least admit that? Or is “I hate Microsoft” your only basis for whatever position you take, consistency be damned?

    (And I’ll go further and say that Red Hat, et al, should be held for current and past violations, so that even if they alter the code to get around the patent, they still have to pay up (this happens with closed source devs all the time; OSS devs should be held to the same standard (particularly those that make plenty of money and can’t use charity as a defense)).)

  101. Welch, did you even comprehend what you posted from the VLC site? Did you understand the ramifications of it? Or were you in such a hurry to post that you didn’t think through what it really meant. Because it goes to prove Microsoft’s argument.

    Let me quote what you quoted regarding VLC:
    “With many products the producer pays the license body (in this case MPEG LA (http://www.mpegla.com)) so the user (commercial or personal) does not have to take care of this. VLC (and ffmpeg and libmpeg2 which it uses in
    most of these cases) cannot do this because they are Free and Open Source implementations of these codecs. The software is not sold and therefore the end-user becomes responsible for complying to the licensing and royalty
    requirements. You will need to contact the licensor on how to comply to these licenses.”

    They are simply carrying the OSS party line, which is, “We violate patents without fear of being sued because we have no money. Patent holders, please go after our users instead of us.”

    These guys are clearly in violation, and admit it. They could easily accept donations to cover the licenses, but can’t be bothered. And MPEG2 is just *one* of the licenses they violate. WMV is another. Flip4Mac pays the WMV license, VLC does not. Why? Because VLC is an OSS dev, and OSS devs Do NOT GIVE A DARN ABOUT HONORING PATENTS/ROYALTY FEES. Which is Microsoft’s position.

    Microsoft was ordered to pay 1.5 billion for violating the mp3 license (when they weren’t even violating it with malice; it was ruled that those they indemnified violated it by licensing it from the wrong party; give me a break), and Microsoft haters cheered. They want Microsoft, Flip4Mac, etc to honor patents, but feel that OSS is too pure for such triflings.

    And you seem to defend the position that the users should be sued rather than the devs of the patent-violating software. A truly dispicable position for you to take; and you have the gall to call Ballmer pathetic? Look in the mirror.

    Now, we see that VLC’s only defense is that they have no money, so can’t (and don’t fear) being sued. But Red Hat, et al, do have plenty of money, so they should be held liable for patent violation. Do you at least admit that? Or is “I hate Microsoft” your only basis for whatever position you take, consistency be damned?

    (And I’ll go further and say that Red Hat, et al, should be held for current and past violations, so that even if they alter the code to get around the patent, they still have to pay up (this happens with closed source devs all the time; OSS devs should be held to the same standard (particularly those that make plenty of money and can’t use charity as a defense)).)

  102. “Microsoft up to this point has used patents defensively (i.e., only if sued themselves)”

    Huh? How does that explain how they’ve been threatening their own customers using GNU/Linux since 2004?

    “Some customers actually entered into direct patent licenses with Microsoft at that point, Smith says, including some “major brand-name companies” in financial services, health care, insurance and information technology. (He says they don’t want to be identified, presumably because they fear angering the FOSS community.)”

    Hitachi, Samsung are known to have done this in 2007 out of fear of MS.

  103. “Microsoft up to this point has used patents defensively (i.e., only if sued themselves)”

    Huh? How does that explain how they’ve been threatening their own customers using GNU/Linux since 2004?

    “Some customers actually entered into direct patent licenses with Microsoft at that point, Smith says, including some “major brand-name companies” in financial services, health care, insurance and information technology. (He says they don’t want to be identified, presumably because they fear angering the FOSS community.)”

    Hitachi, Samsung are known to have done this in 2007 out of fear of MS.

  104. @Welch

    Now, to go off topic, let’s move on to your your beloved Apple’s MPEG2 scam (fleecing its users).

    According to you, they make $7.50 per MPEG2 codec. I’d have more respect for them if they were doing this just to cover the MPEG2 license, but it does appear that this is yet one more case of Jobs milking his userbase for all their worth. And to make matters worse, OSX already comes with an MPEG2 codec that is used to power the DVD player; why can’t Apple let their QT player use the same codec?(On Windows, once an MPEG2 codec is installed, all players that use DirectShow filters can use it; the license need only be paid for once.) The reason Apple doesn’t allow QT to use the already installed MPEG2 codec that the DVD player uses is that he’d miss opportunity to milk his fanbase.

    And you defend this with your “that’s not a bad bit of profit” remark. It’s sad that you care more about Jobs’ bottom line than his users, of which you are one. Tell me, do you get the warm and fuzzies whenever you hand Jobs another dollar? Do you get a high when paying $10 just to get the QT player to play videos at full screen, because you know that you’ve made Jobs just a bit richer, not caring about your own pocket or the pockets of Mac users? It truly amazes me that you and your ilk defend Apple making $7.50 per MPEG2 codec (and likely defend the $10 to get QT to play fullscreen), when you would have been the first to loudly trash Microsoft for doing the same.

  105. @Welch

    Now, to go off topic, let’s move on to your your beloved Apple’s MPEG2 scam (fleecing its users).

    According to you, they make $7.50 per MPEG2 codec. I’d have more respect for them if they were doing this just to cover the MPEG2 license, but it does appear that this is yet one more case of Jobs milking his userbase for all their worth. And to make matters worse, OSX already comes with an MPEG2 codec that is used to power the DVD player; why can’t Apple let their QT player use the same codec?(On Windows, once an MPEG2 codec is installed, all players that use DirectShow filters can use it; the license need only be paid for once.) The reason Apple doesn’t allow QT to use the already installed MPEG2 codec that the DVD player uses is that he’d miss opportunity to milk his fanbase.

    And you defend this with your “that’s not a bad bit of profit” remark. It’s sad that you care more about Jobs’ bottom line than his users, of which you are one. Tell me, do you get the warm and fuzzies whenever you hand Jobs another dollar? Do you get a high when paying $10 just to get the QT player to play videos at full screen, because you know that you’ve made Jobs just a bit richer, not caring about your own pocket or the pockets of Mac users? It truly amazes me that you and your ilk defend Apple making $7.50 per MPEG2 codec (and likely defend the $10 to get QT to play fullscreen), when you would have been the first to loudly trash Microsoft for doing the same.

  106. “Assuming you believe software is patentable, read on (if you don’t, stop reading here.) Royalties are an accepted way to be compensated for your IP. And, to those who say they haven’t create anything patentable, consider their R&D budget — it’s probably $6 billion per year by now. Doesn’t it seem fair for them to be able to seek compensation for the results achieved from their R&D efforts? It happens in every other industry.”

    OMG you mean the convicted illegal monopolist faces actual competition and therefore must compete with lowering prices and increasing innovation????? Nooooo!!!!

  107. “Assuming you believe software is patentable, read on (if you don’t, stop reading here.) Royalties are an accepted way to be compensated for your IP. And, to those who say they haven’t create anything patentable, consider their R&D budget — it’s probably $6 billion per year by now. Doesn’t it seem fair for them to be able to seek compensation for the results achieved from their R&D efforts? It happens in every other industry.”

    OMG you mean the convicted illegal monopolist faces actual competition and therefore must compete with lowering prices and increasing innovation????? Nooooo!!!!

  108. Funny how Microsoft gets sued, and pretty successfully too, quite a few times over the years for patent violations, and is now suddenly decrying patent violations.

    “I’m shocked, shocked I tell you to find that there is gambling in this establishment!”

    “Your winnings Inspector”

    “Ah, thank you”

  109. Funny how Microsoft gets sued, and pretty successfully too, quite a few times over the years for patent violations, and is now suddenly decrying patent violations.

    “I’m shocked, shocked I tell you to find that there is gambling in this establishment!”

    “Your winnings Inspector”

    “Ah, thank you”

  110. @69
    Welch,
    Funny how MS haters (e.g. you), cheer when microsoft gets sued, but take umbrage that they might finally decide to fight back by enforcing their own patents.

    BTW, your defense of VLC was pathetic, to say the least. Unless you’re saying that the official OSS position is that responsibility for patent royalties should be passed from OSS devs to the users. Even you can see how disingenuous that stance is. You and OSS devs know damn well that users aren’t going to do that (even those that would be inclined wouldn’t know to whom or how to pay the royalty). But this isn’t the first time you’ve taken an intellectually dishonest position. It’s your m.o.

    And your comment regarding Apple’s MPEG2/QT policy was overly-defensive, as I was not attacking them for it. Just pointing out that they abide by the MPEG2 license while VLC (and many OSS video player devs) fails to do so. (That you feel the need to defend Apple at all times, even when they aren’t being attacked, is quite telling.)

  111. @69
    Welch,
    Funny how MS haters (e.g. you), cheer when microsoft gets sued, but take umbrage that they might finally decide to fight back by enforcing their own patents.

    BTW, your defense of VLC was pathetic, to say the least. Unless you’re saying that the official OSS position is that responsibility for patent royalties should be passed from OSS devs to the users. Even you can see how disingenuous that stance is. You and OSS devs know damn well that users aren’t going to do that (even those that would be inclined wouldn’t know to whom or how to pay the royalty). But this isn’t the first time you’ve taken an intellectually dishonest position. It’s your m.o.

    And your comment regarding Apple’s MPEG2/QT policy was overly-defensive, as I was not attacking them for it. Just pointing out that they abide by the MPEG2 license while VLC (and many OSS video player devs) fails to do so. (That you feel the need to defend Apple at all times, even when they aren’t being attacked, is quite telling.)

  112. “You and OSS devs know damn well that users aren’t going to do that (even those that would be inclined wouldn’t know to whom or how to pay the royalty).”

    Oh really? Why? Do M$ fanboys always assume that OSS users are dishonest? I spot a trend…

    “That you feel the need to defend Apple at all times, even when they aren’t being attacked, is quite telling.”

    That you feel the need to attack Apple or John’s positive attitude towards it even when when it was completely unwarranted is also telling.

  113. “You and OSS devs know damn well that users aren’t going to do that (even those that would be inclined wouldn’t know to whom or how to pay the royalty).”

    Oh really? Why? Do M$ fanboys always assume that OSS users are dishonest? I spot a trend…

    “That you feel the need to defend Apple at all times, even when they aren’t being attacked, is quite telling.”

    That you feel the need to attack Apple or John’s positive attitude towards it even when when it was completely unwarranted is also telling.

  114. Funny how MS haters (e.g. you), cheer when microsoft gets sued, but take umbrage that they might finally decide to fight back by enforcing their own patents.

    Funny how Microsoft has yet to release any info on all this IP being infringed upon, isn’t it. Kind of pulling a Joe McCarthy, and trying to make people fear that they MIGHT be in trouble by using linux.

    BTW, your defense of VLC was pathetic, to say the least. Unless you’re saying that the official OSS position is that responsibility for patent royalties should be passed from OSS devs to the users.

    It wasn’t a defense at all. That would require me to say VLC is handling it correctly. To provide the other side of the story, I did a little research, (Funny how in the midst of your slavering, you couldn’t be bothered to make a phone call), and called up MPEGLA’s licensing office in D.C. They disagree with VLC’s position in the extreme, and according to them have attempted to contact VideoLAN many times to deal with this. But they also see the complications. As the MPEGLA folks said “On the one hand, they’re getting the technology used by more people. On the other hand, they’re not handling the license correctly”. It’s not a simple issue. How do you license when there’s no money being made? It’s still being hammered out.

    Even you can see how disingenuous that stance is. You and OSS devs know damn well that users aren’t going to do that (even those that would be inclined wouldn’t know to whom or how to pay the royalty). But this isn’t the first time you’ve taken an intellectually dishonest position. It’s your m.o.

    Yes, yes, just like your MO is to do no research and just foam at the mouth when you see my name. However, there’s a difference. MPEGLA is stating the specific problem, and the problem they have with VideoLAN’s policy. So, regardless of the eventual solution, both sides have stated their views publicly, or will do so publicly. (The MPEGLA people were quite nice about it, not defensive, not anti- or pro- anything, quite understanding about the condundrum involved with FOSS and their licensing models.) Microsoft will not come close to stating what the “list of patents” actually are, so no one can possibly resolve anything.

    And your comment regarding Apple’s MPEG2/QT policy was overly-defensive, as I was not attacking them for it. Just pointing out that they abide by the MPEG2 license while VLC (and many OSS video player devs) fails to do so. (That you feel the need to defend Apple at all times, even when they aren’t being attacked, is quite telling.)

    BWAAAAHAHAHA. Your only response mode is as Microsoft fanboyattackdog, and now you’re crying “Poor Me” over the response it gets you. Wahh, you want some cheese with that?

    I can point out publicly available instances where I praise Microsoft and tell Apple they’re being jerks. Can you show the same, where you praise Apple and tell Microsoft they’re being jerks? Or is the fanboy hand up your backside not allowing your muppet self to do that?

  115. Funny how MS haters (e.g. you), cheer when microsoft gets sued, but take umbrage that they might finally decide to fight back by enforcing their own patents.

    Funny how Microsoft has yet to release any info on all this IP being infringed upon, isn’t it. Kind of pulling a Joe McCarthy, and trying to make people fear that they MIGHT be in trouble by using linux.

    BTW, your defense of VLC was pathetic, to say the least. Unless you’re saying that the official OSS position is that responsibility for patent royalties should be passed from OSS devs to the users.

    It wasn’t a defense at all. That would require me to say VLC is handling it correctly. To provide the other side of the story, I did a little research, (Funny how in the midst of your slavering, you couldn’t be bothered to make a phone call), and called up MPEGLA’s licensing office in D.C. They disagree with VLC’s position in the extreme, and according to them have attempted to contact VideoLAN many times to deal with this. But they also see the complications. As the MPEGLA folks said “On the one hand, they’re getting the technology used by more people. On the other hand, they’re not handling the license correctly”. It’s not a simple issue. How do you license when there’s no money being made? It’s still being hammered out.

    Even you can see how disingenuous that stance is. You and OSS devs know damn well that users aren’t going to do that (even those that would be inclined wouldn’t know to whom or how to pay the royalty). But this isn’t the first time you’ve taken an intellectually dishonest position. It’s your m.o.

    Yes, yes, just like your MO is to do no research and just foam at the mouth when you see my name. However, there’s a difference. MPEGLA is stating the specific problem, and the problem they have with VideoLAN’s policy. So, regardless of the eventual solution, both sides have stated their views publicly, or will do so publicly. (The MPEGLA people were quite nice about it, not defensive, not anti- or pro- anything, quite understanding about the condundrum involved with FOSS and their licensing models.) Microsoft will not come close to stating what the “list of patents” actually are, so no one can possibly resolve anything.

    And your comment regarding Apple’s MPEG2/QT policy was overly-defensive, as I was not attacking them for it. Just pointing out that they abide by the MPEG2 license while VLC (and many OSS video player devs) fails to do so. (That you feel the need to defend Apple at all times, even when they aren’t being attacked, is quite telling.)

    BWAAAAHAHAHA. Your only response mode is as Microsoft fanboyattackdog, and now you’re crying “Poor Me” over the response it gets you. Wahh, you want some cheese with that?

    I can point out publicly available instances where I praise Microsoft and tell Apple they’re being jerks. Can you show the same, where you praise Apple and tell Microsoft they’re being jerks? Or is the fanboy hand up your backside not allowing your muppet self to do that?

  116. Sad to see John C. Welch go once more into the gutter when he’s clearly losing an argument. Welch, you’re supposed to be so much more knowledgeable than everyone else here (your a tech journalist, afterall *rolls eyes*), so why don’t you act like it? Present your arguments without the snide remarks, without the insults, and have the guts to admit when someone you disagree with has a valid point.

  117. Sad to see John C. Welch go once more into the gutter when he’s clearly losing an argument. Welch, you’re supposed to be so much more knowledgeable than everyone else here (your a tech journalist, afterall *rolls eyes*), so why don’t you act like it? Present your arguments without the snide remarks, without the insults, and have the guts to admit when someone you disagree with has a valid point.

  118. Sad to see John C. Welch go once more into the gutter when he’s clearly losing an argument. Welch, you’re supposed to be so much more knowledgeable than everyone else here (your a tech journalist, afterall *rolls eyes*), so why don’t you act like it? Present your arguments without the snide remarks, without the insults, and have the guts to admit when someone you disagree with has a valid point.

    Oh, I’m sorry, did I miss the part where I have to follow a higher standard than say, you Pepper? At least I went out and found actual sources for both sides of the VLC issue. Your research is? Hmm?

    Roll your eyes all you like, where’s you contribution to the overall knowledge base? Care to show us your contribution to the great Google Tech Support Database in the clouds? I’d love to see it. Bet it’s full of awesome. Or do you only exist to play moralizing prat in other people’s work?

    Or is it that you actually have no real contribution other than bitching about how mean and bad I am. Man, it would suck for you if I and a lot of people stopped commenting, because then you’d have to have an actual original thought.

    On the valid point thing, why do you need me to…well, validate your point. If your point is valid, it carries that distinction with or without my approval. Maybe if you had more confidence in your game, you’d not need other people’s approval.

  119. Sad to see John C. Welch go once more into the gutter when he’s clearly losing an argument. Welch, you’re supposed to be so much more knowledgeable than everyone else here (your a tech journalist, afterall *rolls eyes*), so why don’t you act like it? Present your arguments without the snide remarks, without the insults, and have the guts to admit when someone you disagree with has a valid point.

    Oh, I’m sorry, did I miss the part where I have to follow a higher standard than say, you Pepper? At least I went out and found actual sources for both sides of the VLC issue. Your research is? Hmm?

    Roll your eyes all you like, where’s you contribution to the overall knowledge base? Care to show us your contribution to the great Google Tech Support Database in the clouds? I’d love to see it. Bet it’s full of awesome. Or do you only exist to play moralizing prat in other people’s work?

    Or is it that you actually have no real contribution other than bitching about how mean and bad I am. Man, it would suck for you if I and a lot of people stopped commenting, because then you’d have to have an actual original thought.

    On the valid point thing, why do you need me to…well, validate your point. If your point is valid, it carries that distinction with or without my approval. Maybe if you had more confidence in your game, you’d not need other people’s approval.

  120. Welch, why do you think I think I need your approval for validation of anything? Does your ego know no bounds?

    Welch, your only purpose for me is to serve as entertainment, nothing more. Not validation or approval, but entertainment. Entertainment of the sort that the court jester provides when playing the “fool” for the royal court. I know that hurts your ego, but them’s the facts.

    Now, are you a legit tech journalist (I’ve seen you pay the role in your writings elsewhere), or are you the blowhard you act as here, on Scoble’s blog? Are you the knowledgeable tech guy or the ill-mannered, ill-tempered, deranged buffoon that’s deluded himself into believing he’s the smartest guy in the room?

    I’d say you’re both. That you’re a buffoon is evidenced by your writings here. As for your tech journalism elsewhere, well, the fact is, there are two categories of tech journalists: Dvorks and Udels. You’re of the former. And that is the category of tech journalists that are quite ignorant of the field that they cover, and are given to axiomatic assertions, proclamations, declarations, and brook no opposition. And when faced with opposing opinion, they ignore it, or result to handwaving, misdirection, and finally, insults, all the while maintaining an air of superiority.

  121. Welch, why do you think I think I need your approval for validation of anything? Does your ego know no bounds?

    Welch, your only purpose for me is to serve as entertainment, nothing more. Not validation or approval, but entertainment. Entertainment of the sort that the court jester provides when playing the “fool” for the royal court. I know that hurts your ego, but them’s the facts.

    Now, are you a legit tech journalist (I’ve seen you pay the role in your writings elsewhere), or are you the blowhard you act as here, on Scoble’s blog? Are you the knowledgeable tech guy or the ill-mannered, ill-tempered, deranged buffoon that’s deluded himself into believing he’s the smartest guy in the room?

    I’d say you’re both. That you’re a buffoon is evidenced by your writings here. As for your tech journalism elsewhere, well, the fact is, there are two categories of tech journalists: Dvorks and Udels. You’re of the former. And that is the category of tech journalists that are quite ignorant of the field that they cover, and are given to axiomatic assertions, proclamations, declarations, and brook no opposition. And when faced with opposing opinion, they ignore it, or result to handwaving, misdirection, and finally, insults, all the while maintaining an air of superiority.

  122. I keep hearing that “people deserve free software,” can someone tell me why??? If that is true then we also deservve free food, free clothes, free housing, free healthcare, free computers, free gasoline…etc.
    Why should anyone work anymore? I can tell you that I am quitting my programming career. It is getting harder to make money, there is plenty of free software out there already for all needs.

  123. I keep hearing that “people deserve free software,” can someone tell me why??? If that is true then we also deservve free food, free clothes, free housing, free healthcare, free computers, free gasoline…etc.
    Why should anyone work anymore? I can tell you that I am quitting my programming career. It is getting harder to make money, there is plenty of free software out there already for all needs.

  124. If Microsoft have to pay a few billion $ a year to use other companies software patents, why should MS have to let others (Open Source or Not) use their patents royalty free? It’s about time they start to pursue patent violations after spending $5-7 billion per year on R&D. Of course there wil probably be cummunity outcry to the DOJ that this is unfair business practices and they are tryig to hurt RedHat, Ubuntu, and every other flavor of Linux or force agreeemnts similar to Novel’s.

  125. If Microsoft have to pay a few billion $ a year to use other companies software patents, why should MS have to let others (Open Source or Not) use their patents royalty free? It’s about time they start to pursue patent violations after spending $5-7 billion per year on R&D. Of course there wil probably be cummunity outcry to the DOJ that this is unfair business practices and they are tryig to hurt RedHat, Ubuntu, and every other flavor of Linux or force agreeemnts similar to Novel’s.