Linux

Why does Microsoft hate Linux?


That pretty much sums it up. But you're probably asking yourself, "why does he think this when Microsoft is now embracing Linux on a financial and code-based level?" Why? Because Microsoft has, for the last decade, taken Linux to task at every corner. No one has spent as much time, money, and effort attempting to take down the poster child of open source. No one has spread as much Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt as Microsoft. No one has practice such shady business ethics (outside of SCO - and even then Microsoft, it has come to light lately, put a large sum of money up for SCO.)

And now they are buying into Linux itself. Why Microsoft? Why are you doing this? I'll tell you why...

WARNING: I'm donning my conspiracy theorist hat here.

They want to take down Linux from the inside out. How? Any way they can. But I have a feeling it will be something as simple as inserting a snippet of proprietary code into the Linux kernel under the guise of co-existing with Windows Vista, and then crying "wolf!" Or maybe their purpose is to figure out what makes the Linux kernel tick and then one up them within their own kernel. Or maybe it's even more simple. Maybe MS plans on dumping all this money into SuSE to buy it out and claim ownership of Linux. 

It could happen.

Remember the old joke about MS claiming patent rights on Ones and Zeros? Linux might not be far away from this. MS has the deepest pockets of any business on the planet so they can afford to hire the best team of lawyers to draw up a plan to bring down our favorite operating systems. MS may very well be hoping to crush their main competitor, Red Hat Linux, from the inside out. Support SuSE so that Red Hat suffers until Red Hat caves and allows MS to buy into their company. 

But how can we take care of this? It's really up to companies like SuSE to realize that the big green carrot Microsoft is dangling in front of them might be more of a time bomb waiting to go off in their face.

What's really difficult is that Linux has gained so much within the last few years. The desktop has surpassed that of Windows in stability and usability. The server has proven to be one of the best solutions for the enterprise level. But if MS has their way they will, from the inside out, bring Linux down to its knees and it will take years for the open source community to stand back up.

Please SuSE, rethink what you're doing. Or at least protect yourself and your code. Don't let MS take control of something so dear to our hearts. 

I have, for over a decade, been a Linux zealot. Because of this I question every move that Microsoft makes. Under my microscope of conspiracy I place MS and usually I find every single nugget of FUD there is to find. Microsoft since its inception, has practiced some of the shadiest business ethics in the history of the computing world. And because of this, I don't trust their moves. Every move they make (nods to Sting and The Police) is riddled with hidden agenda.

Even the Samba team has chimed asking Novell to reconsider the deal stating:  For Novell to make this deal shows a profound disregard for the relationship that they have with the Free Software community. We are, in essence, their suppliers, and Novell should know that they have no right to make self serving deals on behalf of others which run contrary to the goals and ideals of the Free Software community.

And the Samba team is right. Novell striking this deal with Microsoft shows a complete disregard to not only the patent-free nature of Linux but also of the Linux community and all it stands for and believes.

This most recent Microsoft "stealth attack" on Linux could very well be the most dangerous move they've made. I believe they are planning something down the road that will be nothing more than an attempt to dismember its competition.

So I have to ask, why does Microsoft hate Linux? The answer, however, is obivious...because it's superior and gaining ground faster than they ever anticipated. 

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

17 comments
Jaqui
Jaqui

Because Linux did right what Microsoft has never managed to do. Linux is a Secure, Stable and Reliable true multi-user operating system. MS NT "Family" are not secure, stable, reliable or multi-user operating systems.

apotheon
apotheon

Ballmer has been making comments to the effect that Linux makes use of Microsoft patents, and the deal with Novell was made so that there's a way for Microsoft to make money off that use of Microsoft's "intellectual property". It looks like the plan MS had in making the Novell deal is quite simple: sowing FUD about the question of potential "intellectual property" lawsuits for users of Linux.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

" ... Novell should know that they have no right to make self serving deals ... " Novell has every right to make whatever business decisions they feel best serve their interests. If I give someone an item with no contractual strings, they are within their rights to sell it.

NOW LEFT TR
NOW LEFT TR

Is as close as MS got to a 'true multi-user operating system'. As far as I am aware this is the only time multiple users can share the 'same system' (not just a resource - depends on yhat you define a resource) within the NT/2K/2K box.

jackie40d
jackie40d

MS is using some of Linux Ideals since UNIX was first before MS and Linux is a step child of UNIX Maybe UNIX should sue MS for infringement ;-) NOW that sounds like an Ideal :-) !

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

If Ballmer wants to play those games, then I think the FLOSS community has every right to ask to inspect their source code for infringement as well.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I'm SURE they knew the path they were going to go down. Ballmer is the least trustworthy of the MS honchos. However, with Oracle and IBM pushing Linux, it won't be long before MS has to STFU under their combined pressure.

TechExec2
TechExec2

Yes, Novell is FREE to make stupid naive side deals with Microsoft. And, Linux customers are FREE to use and buy another distribution. See how it works? Novell make a very big stupid naive mistake. They would have been better off circling the wagons with RedHat and others in the Linux community.

Jaqui
Jaqui

proves my comment though.. "as close as MS got to a 'true multi-user operating system'" ;)

stress junkie
stress junkie

I believe that the three most popular distributions are IBM, Red Hat, and Novell SuSE. Between those three I am guessing that Novell is the weakest financially. Novell has always had a customer indemnification program which said that if a paying Novell SuSE customer were sued over the IP in Linux then Novell would cover their customer's legal fees. That sounds nice but what if a well funded company started suing all of Novell's customers? I believe that Novell would soon run out of money. Another poster at TR mentioned that Microsoft is trying to create a legal precedent. That would give more credibility to threats of law suits to Red Hat. I'm going to guess that IBM couldn't care less. IBM spends a lot of money employing developers who contributing code to the Linux and Samba projects. So Microsoft may be planning to start with the weakest of the popular commercial distributions and then work its way up the line. And, as you mentioned, it has already created some uncertainty about the IP in Linux. That could prevent some corporate customers to shy away from Linux. If you can scare customers away from Linux then the end result is just as good as putting Linux distributors out of business.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b]The Proposed GPL Revision[/b] I think the revision to the GPL being spoken of is a simple change to GPL v2, not the new FSF-generated GPL v3 that Linus and many others have a problem with. That is why they expect everyone to quickly agree to it. The change just adds the one new requirement that any "promise not to sue" must apply to all users, not some special group (e.g. Novell customers). I think this is no more, nor less, enforceable than the rest of the GPL. [b]The Microsoft-Novell Deal[/b] You're correct. The Microsoft-Novell deal does not violate GPL v2 at all. It just circumvents the intent and spirit of the GPL to give everyone the same rights and not allow anyone to effectively gain control over GPL'd software. That is exactly what the Microsoft-Novell deal does. It seeks to put Linux users into legal and financial jeopardy unless they buy Novell's Linus support service. The new GPL v2+ (for lack of a better name) will simply and explicitly disallow that. [b]Resolving the Patent Claims[/b] I know of only two ways to resolve a patent claim: 1. The patent holder (Microsoft in this case) has to sue someone and there has to be a court judgment. A settlement out of court does not resolve the patent claim, it only resolves the dispute between two parties. 2. Someone has to petition the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office arguing in detail that a specific patent should be rescinded. I know there are some people that routinely do this for nonsensical software patents. P.S. Have a GREAT Thanksgiving!!

stress junkie
stress junkie

Eban Morgan said that the Microsoft-Novell deal "...skirts the requirements of the GPL." Unfortunately he didn't say why this is allegedly so. IMO no part of the Microsoft-Novell deal violates the GPL. (Note that I am not an attorney but I play one when I'm feeling romantic.) Eban Morgan said that the new version of the GPL will close the loophole of allowing one distributor to make a deal with IP rights holders. That probably wouldn't make much sense to a court. IP holders have always been able to license their IP to one entity and withhold rights to another entity. A new GPL wouldn't change that because Microsoft doesn't have to accept the GPL. I don't even know who Eban Morgan is, beyond being the guy who is quoted in the article. Even Linus Torvalds has reservations about the new GPL. In fact, nobody HAS to use the new GPL. Linus can continue to distribute Linux under the current version of the GPL or he could say that all future distributions are covered by something that he makes up himself. These Stallman people think they have the Open Source world marching in step with their drum beat. In fact, nobody has to pay them any attention. What we really need to happen is for the Electronics Frontier Foundation to step in. They take several cases of GPL violation to court every year. If the EFF stepped in to have a court decide on the IP rights of Microsoft then things would clear up. I don't think that the EFF has the funds but maybe IBM could pay for the costs.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. IBM says that Microsoft should not be suing, or threatening to sue, customers over patent infringement claims. But, the Microsoft-Novell agreement is a good one for Linux. I think that Microsoft is way out of line, as usual. In this case, it is making threats about suing Linux users over alleged patent infringement. I have said before that Microsoft works hard to be being hated by as many people as possible. This is another good example of it. If this was really about customers, and not about Microsoft, they would not have made the threats. ----- From where he sits, the Microsoft-Novell deal indicates that [i]"Microsoft is coming to terms with the fact that Linux is an unstoppable force in the marketplace."[/i] Scott Handy, IBM VP of Worldwide Linux and Open Source. [i]"Unfortunately, embedded in Microsoft's recent endorsement of Linux are claims regarding customers' needing protection from patent attack. Those claims are baseless."[/i] Jerry Rosenthal, OIN CEO Handy agreed and added, [i]"We aren't sure what Microsoft's intentions are [in regards to patents]." However, "[u]We have never seen any need for patent protection for Linux, and we don't see any need for it now.[/u] If legal claims exist, they should be resolved between vendors and not involve end-user customers."[/i] IBM Speaks about the Microsoft-Novell Agreement http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS4468266798.html Open Invention Network (OIN) http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b]There is a lot of Microsoft FUD Going Around[/b] Microsoft is sewing fear, uncertainty, and doubt. This is an insidious and evil act. You, me, all of us are being manipulated and intimidated by big bully Microsoft. We all should be really pissed off about that. This is like you running around to all of your neighbors and telling them you have control of a criminal gang who breaks into homes. If they don't pay you $1000, you really fear for their safety. Now, this wouldn't work in the USA because there are government institutions like the police your neighbors could and would turn to. But, in the absence of a protector, many of your neighbors would comply! Those who did not might change their minds if there were a few break-ins down the street! So... Microsoft is a thug. [b]Microsoft's Objective[/b] Microsoft's objective is to intimidate corporate customers into buying Novell Linux instead of downloading a free Linux. This does two things: (1) It brings some revenue to Microsoft through Novell (or any other Linux distributor it signs up with MS). (2) It makes the customer corporations think twice about running Linux at all since it has so many "legal problems" and is "no longer free". Disgusting. I think this FUD is going to work. Litigation costs money and wrecks careers. Imagine a CEO explaining to his board of directors why he got his company entangled in all this expensive litigation with Microsoft over his choice to run "illegal" Linux instead of Windows. The real threat of this happening will cause many corporate customers to comply. But, if the intimidation does not work sufficiently well, all Microsoft has to do is file a few lawsuits and make it more real. This is an RIAA-style tactic. Microsoft's nefarious plan is going to have the intended effect and be "successful" for them. Corporations have no interest in what they can do for Linux, only what Linux can do for them, or to them. [b]IBM Does not have a Linux Distribution of their own[/b] As far as I know, IBM does not have their own Linux distribution. Instead, they work with Linux distributors to ensure Linux runs well on IBM hardware. And, they contribute software to the community. IBM sells packages of hardware, software, and service that include Linux. Right now they appear to be promoting Novell SUSE Linux 10 (1). [b]Microsoft, IBM, RedHat, Novell, and Oracle are [I]ON THE SAME SIDE[/I][/b] One thing that some people overlook is that Microsoft, IBM, RedHat, Novell, and Oracle all have something in common: They WANT corporations to buy a Linux support service instead of just running a freely downloaded Linux. None of them win if everyone downloads Ubuntu and self-supports it. [b]About Patents[/b] You know, major corporations have lots of patents. And, if they were all litigated, it is all but completely certain that all of them are in violation of some of each other's patents. Even though there are tons of patents everywhere, only a small number of them are ever litigated. Patents are often used like nuclear weapons. All you have to do is have them, you don't have to use them (sue). Microsoft and Novell cross-licensed each other's patents in order to get something each wanted. Novell wanted to establish itself as the only "legal" Linux and the only one cooperating with big bad Microsoft on "interoperability" (don't hold your breath on that). Microsoft wanted to put the fear of lawsuits into the hearts of every CEO running or thinking of running Linux in his company. [b]PR Precedent, Not Legal Precedent[/b] What Microsoft is doing right now with all this patent infringement talk vis-a-vis Linux is all PR (public relations). It does not establish any legal precedent whatsoever. That can only be done in the context of a lawsuit in a court of law. And, MS would have to win! That is never guaranteed. A patent is only a [u]claim[/u] of ownership. A lot of software patents are complete crap and would fall apart in court. Microsoft's agreement with Novell is all about providing an easy and endorsed way for corporate Linux customers to voluntarily give up their money to Novell, who passes some along to Microsoft. Microsoft's effort is to declare Linux in violation of its patents (undisclosed), force corporate customers to have meetings in all of their conference rooms to discuss "the crisis", and have them decide to either pay Novell (who pays Microsoft) or run Windows instead of Linux. End of meeting. (1) Linux at IBM http://www-1.ibm.com/linux/