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Does Linux belong to Microsoft?

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Does Linux belong to Microsoft?

Kiltie
In a recent Q&A session, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer declared his belief that the Linux operating system infringes on Microsoft's intellectual property.

I won't post any links, the tech news is buzzing about it.

Is not paying SCO to sue IBM and buying out Novell not enough?

(these aren't my comments, I've been just reading news, but i am concerned.)

Any comments folks?

EDIT: an obvious typo
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    TechExec2

    No. Microsoft does not own Linux. But, from Microsoft's point of view, Linux violates Microsoft's intellectual property (patents). Of course, they think they own ALL software. So that must be factored in.

    If you research the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, Microsoft has MANY registered patents on all manner of things that are included in Linux. Other companies do as well. For example, patent hound IBM promised to not sue anyone running Linux over IP rights.

    Software patents are a mess. People are getting registered patents for all sorts of nonsense and the only way to deal with it is an expensive lawsuit in court. Most people who are sued settle. This is just wrong.

    I cannot name anything specific because I have not researched it. But, I guarantee that Windows contains lots of technology that is patented by others. That is why when Microsoft settles its many lawsuits, it "always" works in a patent cross-licensing agreement. Patents are a threat to Microsoft too.

    So, I think there is room to be concerned about Microsoft. They are devious and treacherous. This deal with Novell makes it a requirement that Linux users pay Novell (who pays Microsoft). This takes some of the cost advantage away from Linux and makes Windows more attractive by comparison. If you're going to be paying for it anyway, why not run Windows...

    But, in the end, I think most people choose to run Linux on servers and workstations for reasons beyond license cost. Linux will not be killed due to Microsoft's actions. I wouldn't worry. But, you may have to pay someone something (who pays Microsoft) one day.


    P.S. This thread of yours is likely to provoke a reaction...

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    Kiltie

    P.S. This thread of yours is likely to provoke a reaction...

    Which is why I am framing things as questions, no opinions from my side ..... yet.

    I have several more questions to add, but I think this discussion is significant, it deserves an article or major blog about it.
    In the meantime, I hope this thread opens an area for opinions and attitudes to be discussed.

    Ty for your comments TE, much appreciated mf. I hope for much more input here, while I do have an opinion, it is not engraved in stone.

    I am sitting on the fence here, reading, watching, listening.....

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    w2ktechman

    on that fence.
    I decided to hold my thoughts since the Novell deal. Now it seems to be clearing up those clouded skies though, Novell can use services and MS will sue all other Linux providers..... Maybe I should hold opinions for another time still. It doesnt look good though.

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    aad0002

    Your theory may turn out to be the simplist explanation and
    that may mean the best explanation.

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    drew6235

    For the justice department to Declare Microsoft a hostale monopoly. They controll 90% of the desktop market, 98% of the office software market, 94% of the browser market. IF this was a phone company, car company, ****, even a toy company, it would have been broken apart and highly regulated by our dear old uncle sam. Whay this has not happened in this case, one can only speculate. The patant mess aside, the truth is that windows was a knock off of the X-windows developed by xerox (as wall as the apple os) and linux is just basically an os inspired by unix. If enythig, microsoft should have to pay xerox royalties on the concept of a windowed OS. Microsoft is so politically and financialy powerfull that they can do as they please. On a positive note, the fact that they are asserting that linux "could be violating certain patents" is a sign that linux has matured enough to be a slight threat (I hardly think that 4% of the desktop market is much of a threat). As consumers, we should worry about our like of choices and that we are at the mercy of a monopoly. The kind of monopoly that will buy what it can't destroy with law suits.

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    stress junkie

    I read another post or blog here at TR that basically said that Microsoft got Novell to pay for IP to create a legal precedent. That precedent then creates a jumping off point for Microsoft to sue other Linux producers. That could include Linus Torvalds' group.

    Novell had for years taken the position that they would protect their Linux customers from litigation. They made this offer when the SCO people were gaining some momentum with their lawsuits. Currently Novell and IBM make this same offer to their Linux customers. IBM certainly has the money to back up their offer. I doubt that Novell can say the same thing. Novell may be concerned about lengthy and costly litigation. I can't imagine any other reason for them to make any deal with Microsoft. The key components in a Linux environment that might infringe on Microsoft patents involve add on products that Novell includes in their distributions.

    The most serious affront to Microsoft IP is Samba, which is becoming an Active Directory emulator with single sign on authentication into an AD environment. Well of course that's because Microsoft simply hijacked Kerberos and LDAP to create Active Directory but it still may cause some people to think about whether this is a legitimate IP infringement.

    Novell has made me very angry creating this alliance with Microsoft. Novell doesn't own Linux so Novell's actions don't directly affect Linux. If worse comes to worst we still have the BSD systems.

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    DanLM

    Sorry, I couldn't resist stress.

    I am like Kiltie, I am reading and watching. Truthfully, I am worried. Especially since I read your comments on Samba.

    Dan

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    Kiltie

    Suppose M$ offer $10 billion to Linux Torvas guaranteeing not to sue him,
    for whatever reason, provided he ........... (fill in the blank yourselves)?

    Who can possible refuse such an offer?
    Who has the resources to stand up to a battalion of M$ lawyers?

    I couldn't survive such an offer, could you?.

    They have the money, they have the legal team of overpaid lawyers.

    What would happen?

    Is it not a nightmare scenario?

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    TechExec2

    It's not a nightmare scenario because of the GPL. Linux is not owned by Linus Torvalds. Microsoft can buy people (e.g. Novell in their deal), but not Linux.

    If the community were sufficiently dissatisfied with anything Linus did (unlikely), it could fork the Linux kernel and continue working without skipping a beat.

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    DanLM

    The GPL which covers most distributions. Is this license binding to the point that MS can not claim ownership?

    Or, are they saying that part of the product that makes up the item covered in the GPL owned by them, thus voiding that license?

    That probably sounds like a really stupid question, and I apologize.

    Dan

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    Kiltie

    The whole purpose of this thread is to ask questions and get peoples opinions.

    Although by now, I see some major blogs and articles appearing, so this may be shadowed. Just wait until ZDNet and people like Ed Blot get a hold.

    One of the key questions I have is about the sheer muscle power of M$s financial and legal capability.

    With such power, what is stopping them?

    Why haven't they done it already?

    I suspect the answer, but I am an outsider to the US system.

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    stress junkie

    If the Linux operating system contains code that violates Microsoft IP then its validity under GPL is put at risk. Mind you most of Linux is based on Unix. On the other hand the ownership of Unix passed around quite a bit in the 1980s and Microsoft owned Unix for a while. SCO owned Unix for a while. Currently Novell owns Unix. But I think that Microsoft is interested in those technologies that have been replicated by Linux developers over the years without permission. I don't know exactly which features are of primary interest to Microsoft. I looked aroung a bit but I could only find vague statements from Microsoft that did not name specific patents or features.

    Edit: See my post entitled "A brief history of Unix" for more accurate information. I did some research from credible sources when I wrote that post.

    http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=204650&messageID=2126877

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    TechExec2

    .
    There are no stupid questions, especially when it comes to something as arcane as intellectual property law. Here is my best attempt at a short answer to a complex subject:


    "The GPL which covers most distributions. Is this license binding to the point that MS can not claim ownership?"

    No. Microsoft will never own "Linux" (kernel and all other software that we call "Linux"). The GPL will not be voided by a patent suit/win by Microsoft. The GPL keeps Linux free (as in freedom), but it does not protect anyone from a patent lawsuit. And, it does not protect Linux from patents. If MS wins a patent suit in court, it can demand the offending code be removed from Linux and/or monetary damages from the loser in the case. It will be up to the judge.


    What does this really mean?

    What this really means is unclear. Ordinarily, a patent infringement suit is between two companies and that is it. With Linux, MS will have to sue EACH Linux user and distributor to get satisfaction from each one individually. There is no single owner/infringer. Such a thing is impractical. But, MS could use RIAA-style tactics to intimidate people into paying monies to Microsoft or buying Novell's Linux, etc. This could happen. Microsoft clearly does not care how many people hate it.

    Software patents are being used like nuclear weapons. Patent holders don't have to actually use them (sue) to get others to do something (pay monies). So, it is possible that others with patent portfolios such as IBM or Redhat could sue Microsoft over Microsoft's own alleged patent infringements to get MS to back off on Linux or settle.

    Novell, who is also has a large patent portfolio, chose to make a side deal for itself and its own paying customers, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves. Novell could have teamed up with RedHat and others to present a united front against Microsoft. Novell is a weasel.


    The bottom line

    The bad news: There is going to be a fight. It will likely get ugly. Microsoft may end up getting money from Linux users, directly or indirectly.

    The good news: Linux will not be killed by Microsoft. The GPL will not be voided. Some lucky people will be able to continue using Linux with impunity depending on which country they are in (not in the U.S.).

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    Tig2

    Isn't that what took Unix down all those years ago? I can't see that as being a good thing but exactly what is indicated by the Oracle move.

    Like Kiltie, I am busily reading everything I can find. I would like to say I am keeping an open mind but must also admit that I am concerned. I want to have the freedom to select software based on my needs and not necessarily someone else's perception of my needs.

    This will be interesting to watch.

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    TechExec2

    My forking comment was just in response to Kiltie's question about MS buying off Linus Torvalds. That's just not going to happen IMHO. Even if the kernel were forked, it would not kill Linux. There is a lot more to Linux than the kernel. And, there is always the BSD kernel, etc. This is just not a problem.

    I'm not worried about this. I think the worst case is that some of us will have to start paying someone something for each copy of Linux we run. But, Linux itself will continue otherwise unaffected. Linux will be available and free (as in freedom), but no longer free (as in free beer). The problem is that the Linux distributors WANT us to pay them, even defiant RedHat. So, in that respect, they are on the same side that Microsoft is. They just don't want to share the monies with Microsoft (except for Novell the weasel who made a side deal). Once again, this is just the worst case scenario as I see it. It may play out differently (better for us).

    People outside the U.S. and out of the reach of Microsoft will never have to pay for Linux. That means there will always be a freely downloadable distribution somewhere. But, you may have to avoid downloading it in order to avoid Microsoft's RIAA-style lawsuits on you (which I think may happen).

    Linux will survive this. The joy of getting it for free may not. But, it will likely be a lot cheaper than Windows, so there is still something to look forward to! :-)

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    dawgit

    I still can't see straight (or I'd list it here) It's an interview with Mr.Gates:
    "BSD used to be...."
    That's what is in the article.
    Sad day.

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    TechExec2

    BSD is still free. My guess (?) is that Bill G. was referring to BSD being free in the past tense because BSD came before Linux and has largely been supplanted by Linux as the most popular free version of Unix.

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    Kiltie

    But I'll let others pick this up, as I am waiting for my Significant other to get in touch, what Col calls SWMBO

    And I obey, really obey, on bended knee if needed.

    You may call us guys silly, but we really do know who rules the world, you girls, of course).

    (until you get a computer problem that needs fixing)

    ---- here I go, sticking my neck out, waiting for the Axe to fall ----

    hehehe

    An offering of Peace: (We appreciate that you let us think we do from time to time ;-) )

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    Tig2

    Some of us geek chicks actually fix MEN'S computers.

    So there!

    We celebrate the annual turkey eating day in the US tomorrow so I am feeling kindly disposed to my fellow man just now. Lucky for you! :)

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    Kiltie

    You know full full that was tongue in cheek.


    *** grin ***

    I was training my Significant Other (My fiancee, if you are old fashioned, like me) to be a computer guru, but she left in August for San Francisco for a major medical op. She is getting close now, no longer trashing machines with random key presses, but she sure as **** types faster than me!!!

    I am a mere two fingered typist from the old Fortran days on IBM Mainframes and VAX/VMS.

    In those old days of Yore, I believe Windows didn't exist.


    I have a couple of PC problems, you are welcome to try an fix them. As if women could (Putting his head firmer in the noose as the Guillotine's poised)

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    Kiltie

    Linux is generally regarded as two things:

    1: The Linux kernel, written and copyright claimed by Linus Torvald.

    2: The various Linux operating systems, which include that kernel.

    So specify to which you are referring please?

    Linus does "own" the Linux kernel in a very simple sense that isn't disputed, but the operating systems are all over the place.

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    TechExec2

    Since I was responding to your question about Microsoft "buying" Linus and how that might affect things, by "Linux" I mean the Linux kernel. However, the same legal rights I was referring to apply to all software included in a Linux distribution that is licensed under the GPL.

    Microsoft cannot buy software that has been GPL'd and take it away from us. The GPL prevents this. This includes the Linux kernel, and all other software "pieces" that are licensed under the GPL and are included in a Linux distribution.

    No nightmare scenario. If you're still unconvinced or concerned, I'll expand on this.


    GNU General Public License
    http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html


    P.S. However, Microsoft could "buy" Linus and take him away from working on future releases of the Linux kernel, if he chose to be bought.

    P.P.S. I misspoke. Linus DOES own his own work on the Linux kernel. But, by licensing it to all of us under the GPL, he cannot revoke the rights granted to us under the GPL. It would have been correct to say that all of us own irrevocable rights to the Linux kernel as defined in the GPL (but that is to damn long!)


    edit: Added PPS

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    dawgit

    a class action case against M$, from say a billion, or so, of us for infringement of 'Our' part of the Linux Philosophy.
    huum, I'll take a $ of that.

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    drew6235

    Not only am I worried, I am scared $h..Less

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    aad0002

    A complete newcomer to open source products, but an
    ardent follower of technology news, I have been following
    this story and I am completely baffled. Whether you are
    talking about software, or talking about any other
    product, you claim intellectual rights to property you buy
    -- but not to the resources that were used to create the
    property. For example, my employer can claim rights to
    my company reports or plans and designs for product
    lines, but not to the English language that I used when I
    wrote these materials. I am really not getting this--
    perhaps because I am not really savvy at the economics of
    IT.

    MS made a deal with Novell. Novell is using one type of
    open source technology. How does that have any impact
    whatsover on other versions of open source software that
    have nothing to do wih Novell, or ever had anything to do
    with Novell.

    My thinking is that this is driven by the very costly daily
    fines imposed on Microsoft in Europe (the court at the
    Hague) as I write. Millions so far. These are related to
    bundling software in the new VISTA system. They are also
    facing new challenges from Adobe.

    The MS strategy has always been to create a controversy,
    invite litigation, drag it out for years, and wear the
    oposition down with court costs. Only MS could lose a
    Federal case and come out ahead of the game. Yet this is
    what happend in the '90's.

    Can and would someone please explain to this idiot what
    legal grounds MS has for this current controversy.

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    w2ktechman

    MS has done several things in the past few years to position themselves better against open source and particularly Linux. Several months ago I read in a local newspaper that MS had just patented (or re-patented, I dont remember) the FAT file system. This was due to excessive usage that MS was not getting paid for, mainly from Linux/Unix environments.
    MS holds many a patent, and maybe things were added to Linux before the Patents actually came out. Now they are too common an item in the OS, so MS may be getting ready to start sueing.
    But then again, I do not know Patent law, or what MS's true plans are, so I am waiting until more knowledgeable people start getting into it.

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    DanLM

    Currently Novell owns Unix

    Ok, FreeBSD is a UNIX operating system. Which happens to be my favorite, but that has nothing to do with this question. FreeBSD is also the core OS in Mac OS X.

    Could MicroSoft be positioning themselves for legal actions against Mac with regard to the core operating system?

    Dan

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    stress junkie

    The following web pages briefly describe the development of Unix from a technical point of view. Lots of legal details are missing.

    http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/

    Unix was invented at AT&T Bell Labs.

    One of the developers took a temporary teaching position at the University of California at Berkley. He taught his classes about this new operating system.

    When he returned to Bell Labs some of the people at UC at Berkley continued to write little utilities for their copy of Unix. This became known as BSD Unix and it was always regarded as genuine Unix. Work continued at Bell Labs. This work eventually lead to AT&T Unix. Thus Unix was forked but both versions were considered genuine Unix.

    http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/business.html

    AT&T was forced to break into several independent telephone companies in 1984. AT&T used this to get into the computer business. They started to sell their version of Unix as AT&T System 5. This was legally the official version of Unix but BSD was also popular.

    http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/wars.html

    In 1987 AT&T worked with Sun Microsystems to create a standard distribution. In 1988 other large companies including Hewlett Packard created the Open Systems Foundation to try to establish Unix standards. In response AT&T formed a competing standards group. Both groups created and issued their own version of Unix.

    http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/moveson.html

    AT&T spun off its Unix division in 1991 as a subsidiary that was still owned by AT&T.

    http://www.unix.org/what_is_unix/history_timeline.html

    In 1993 AT&T sold this subsidiary to Novell.

    http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/moveson.html

    In 1995 Novell sold its Unix business to SCO. (Novell has recently stated that it did not sell all of its rights to Unix technologies and has threated to sue SCO for claiming ownership of those IPs and maybe some other stuff. I'm still looking for on line refernces to that.)

    Bell Labs continued to develop new versions of AT&T System 5.

    Here are some notes on the ownership of the Unix brand name/trademark.

    http://www.unix.org/questions_answers.html#5

    ========

    Now, it is my understanding that Microsoft was involved at some time. I know that they created and marketed an operating system called Xenix that looked at acted like Unix.

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    DanLM

    I knew that ATT was heavily involved in Unix in the beginning, and then branch's started to occur. I think it was the general term Unix as owned by Novel that brought about that question.

    Ok, because Novel bought the Unix flavor as originally developed by ATT(the original Unix). Then Microsoft does not have any IP standing with FreeBSD, other then any Linux binaries that are offered in that distribution? Thus, Microsoft can not bring this type of IP law suit against Mac because of that? Other then possible Linux binaries as I said before?

    Man this is both scary and confusing.

    Again, I am more of a Unix(BSD) then a Linux fan. But I use many products that are cross platform with these Os's that can be very adversely affected by this marriage of the devils.

    Thank you again stress junkie, the background/history was appreciated.

    Dan

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    dawgit

    answered my question below also.
    Thanks
    (I have forgotten sooooo much, this getting old stuff is rough)

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    dawgit

    When did Novell do that?

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    aad0002

    Earlier in the morning my code-slinger darling and I were
    talking about this issue. My view was the Apple might be a
    winner when the dust settles. But then it hit me. Apple/MAC
    servers are UNIX based. So what if.....yes, what if it isn't the
    idealist types who are developing interesting open source
    applications that is bothering MicroSoft. They can be picked
    off easily enough. Do they sense a shift in corporate use in
    the direction of MAC platforms? Are they worried about this?
    mid to long term?

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    TechExec2

    I don't know the specifics, but it appears Microsoft and Apple have a broad patent cross-license agreement that will make Mac OS safe from Microsoft.

    Microsoft/Apple Patent Cross-License Agreement
    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1997/Aug97/MSMACpr.mspx

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    jmgarvin

    It reminds me of the XOR patent joy....
    http://tinyurl.com/jfp5d

    The SCO thing is basically finished. Something like 200 of the 220 items have been thrown out and it seems like the rest are going to follow shortly. MS...er...SCO has lost that case.

    IBM is ramping up their distro production and the scuttle butt is that Red Hat and IBM might be getting together at some point.

    The Novell issues has me pretty worried in that:
    A) Ballmer basically said "Use Novell Linux or we'll sue you."

    B) MS is trying to prop up its case, in the EU, that it isn't a monopoly and isn't predatory.

    C) What does this mean for things like Samba 4 (ya...thanks for nothing MS)/CIFS/SMB, Vista/*nix integration, network files/local files indexing, and projects like Cedega/wine?

    I think MS sees the writing on the wall. Their current business model is dying and they don't know how to react. I think, at this point, MS needs to be restructured from the inside. Too many corporate politics, too many fiefdoms, and WAY too many chiefs.

    MS needs to get lean and mean. They need to drop the idea of single platform and move Office to totally work natively cross platform. They need create an OS that intgrates properly, even with their own products. They need to stop being so closed and open up...just a little, so that the community can step in and HELP them.

    MS,

    The reason you have so many security issues isn't because you are "popular," but because you have horrible security. The IE7/ActiveX sandbox has been broken and it looks like the virtual registry (which is pointless anyway) is already broken too.

    Why not let the security community step in and help you secure your product? Rather than suing the pants off, or worse ignoring, those that find the holes, why not embrace them and LET them fix the issues?

    You are going the way of IBM in the 80's. Be warned that the IT folks are going to jump ship and use something else. Why? We're tired of having to jump through hoops every time you come out with a new product. We've been burned with the Win2k -> Win2k3 upgrade and we were burned pretty baddly going frm Win2k -> WinXP.

    I don't think many corporations (your bread and butter) will make the same mistake with Vista. As a matter of fact, many are talking about dropping MS and moving towards thin clients. ****, I know most banks are moving as far away from MS products as quickly as possible...even the US government is looking at Linux.

    So what do you say? How about making quality and not forcing down peoples throats?

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    roaming

    I'm not being critical but would just like some more info. And do you know which banks? I'd probably feel a little safer if my bank was on the list.

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    Kiltie

    Have a butchers at some of these:

    http://www.computerworld.com/blogs/node/4008?source=NLT_BLOG

    The Internet is humming with news and opinions.

    What do you think? Is the truth being gradually revealed?

    oops sorry for UK slang: butchers=butchers hook=have a look (Cockney rhyming slang)

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    jmgarvin

    It seems MS AND Ballmer are coming off as bullies and it looks like it's being directly related to the SCO lawsuit.

    I hope IBM steps in an just squashes the FUD.

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    DanLM

    How much of the AIX kernel might be affected by this? Why is IBM so silent? And if I missed postings/press releases on them stating a position, I apologize.

    Dan

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    dawgit

    even when they try:
    "Novell, ... A once-bitter rival of Microsoft and creator of the SUSE Linux distribution that competes with ....." [from: http://www.computerworld.com/blogs/node/4008?source=NLT_BLOG ]
    They still can't get it right. Geeeze that stuff tweeks my twity.

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    DanLM

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15835078/

    Does this only only address future release's?


    Dan

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    Yes

    TechExec2

    .
    "Does this only only address future release's?"

    Yes. Only future releases of software licensed under the new GPL would be affected. If adopted by developers in the open source community, this cuts Novell off from all future releases of that software. Novell would have the right to distribute the old versions under the old GPL that was in effect when Novell received them.

    This would be a severe **** to Novell, just as it should be. This would be a great response by the open source community to this dastardly thing done by Novell.


    Microsoft Still Has Teeth

    This has no effect on the Novell-Microsoft agreement -- the covenant not to sue in that agreement is NOT extended to all Linux users. It only prevents more agreements like that one from being possible with new releases of open source software.

    And, it does not stop Microsoft from threatening and intimidating corporate Linux customers into paying for absolution in some way. Down the road, corporate Linux users may abandon Novell Linux (because it is then out-of-date), use RedHat Linux, and STILL choose to pay a fee directly to Microsoft for promise not to be sued over patent infringement.

    Finally, no matter what is included in the GPL, Microsoft can sue anyone it wants at any time.


    Prediction

    At some point, Microsoft is going to have to sue someone and make explicit patent claims. And, I predict they will. Only then will we know what Microsoft is claiming, and if the claim has teeth, or not.


    edit: Additional information, clarification

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    Kiltie

    Is this matter if litigation completely under M$s control?

    Will M$ win every single time because nobody can afford to take that on, so they settle out of court?

    M$ did a crafty one with SCO, they were not allowed to sue IBM directly, so they paid SCO to do it, or am I mistaken here?


    US law and politics is very confusing.

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    Kiltie

    Recently I bought a DVD of Matrix,

    I didn't have a DVD player as such, but I had the appropriate hardware, I installed the needed software and watched the film.

    Although I had seen it before, the very first time I have ever done that (used a PC to watch a DVD, as I don't watch TV, I never go to movies, Computers are my whole world. ....I must be a geek I suppose...

    However, the similarity of the concept of the Matrix, from the movie, and M% in it's current attitude, struck me as significant.

    What do you think?


    EDIT: too bothered to correct the obvious typos. ;-)

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    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 "Microsoft is coming to terms with the fact that Linux is an unstoppable force in the marketplace." Scott Handy, IBM VP of Worldwide Linux and Open Source.

    "Unfortunately, embedded in Microsoft's recent endorsement of Linux are claims regarding customers' needing protection from patent attack. Those claims are baseless." Jerry Rosenthal, OIN CEO

    Handy agreed and added, "We aren't sure what Microsoft's intentions are [in regards to patents]." However, "We have never seen any need for patent protection for Linux, and we don't see any need for it now. If legal claims exist, they should be resolved between vendors and not involve end-user customers."


    IBM Speaks about the Microsoft-Novell Agreement
    http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS4468266798.html

    Open Invention Network (OIN)
    http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/

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    DanLM

    Isn't Oracle only offering support(paid of course) for Linux?

    This could have been the kick in Microsoft's butt though. Oracle and Microsoft are competitors for corporate DB software, witch I believe caused Oracle to lower their price's because Microsoft offered a lower end/cheaper solution. If I am incorrect in this, please excuse me. I am not versed well enough in the different DB offerings.

    Is this partnership partially to address Oracle's entry into the Linux support market? Was Novel's acceptance of the partnership partially because of Oracle's entry into the support market? Where is Red Hat going then? They are now against two major money players.

    Microsoft, I still think is trying to scare customers(corporate) away from Linux. But, there are other issues that gets raised also.

    Dan

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    TechExec2

    .
    From what I read, Oracle is taking the source code for RedHat Enterprise Linux, removing all of the references to "RedHat", and replacing them with "Oracle". So, Oracle Linux is RedHat Linux in disguise. Of course, this is completely legal, proper, and allowed by the GPL.

    I think that the major difference between RedHat and Oracle vis-a-vis Linux is that RedHat has people on the payroll who develop open source Linux itself and Oracle does not (or very few). Except for that, RedHat and Oracle are selling the exact same thing: Paid support.


    Oracle and Microsoft: Yes. These guys are locking horns over relational databases.


    "Is this partnership partially to address Oracle's entry into the Linux support market? Was Novel's acceptance of the partnership partially because of Oracle's entry into the support market? Where is Red Hat going then? They are now against two major money players."

    No. The Microsoft-Novell agreement is not directly connected to Oracle Linux. They just happend to become public at about the same time. In my view, each one of these guys did what they did for their own reasons:

    Microsoft did their part for their own reasons: Patent saber rattling against Linux. Get some revenues from Novell Linux sales. Intimidate some weak-minded customers to drop Linux and run Windows. Intimidate other Linux distributors to sign a similar deal that funnels revenues to Microsoft.

    Novell did their part for their own reasons: Establish Novell Linux as the only Linux you can use that will protect you from big bad Microsoft (at least for now). And, there's also that little thing about the $350 million cash that Novell got up front from Microsoft. Note: Novell has lost over $800 million over the last 5 years. Despite appearances, they need the money. Lots of people making deals with Microsoft are losing money. Did you know? Sun Microsystems has lost $5.4 BILLION over the past 5 years?

    Oracle did their Linux offering for their own reasons: Give customers an Oracle-branded and fully supported and complete platform alternative to Microsoft's Windows and Redhat's Linux. This is Oracle's attempt to leverage Linux and Oracle's database against Microsoft's Windows and SQL Server platform. And, it is Oracle's attempt to avoid losing customers to RedHat's Linux, JBoss, and RedHat's "own" database (based on PostgreSQL) platform.


    "Microsoft, I still think is trying to scare customers(corporate) away from Linux."

    Yes and no. I agree that this is their ultimate wish. And it will work, but only just so far. If a corporation really wants to run Linux, they are going to do it. Other companies offering Linux solutions already offer patent suit indemnification. If Microsoft's PRIMARY goal was to scare customers away from Linux, they would not have opened the door to Novell Linux as a "safe" way to run Linux. That would have been a dumb primary goal. Scaring customers away from Linux is a secondary goal.

    I don't think Microsoft can stop corporations from running Linux now and they know it. The truth is that customers do not need to run Novell Linux to be safe from Microsoft. Microsoft knows this. It is a ploy. It is a lie. It is a bluff. It is...par for Microsoft, the FUDmaster.


    Hey...On a positive note: Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!


    edit: typo

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    DanLM

    Thanks TechExec for the info. And I hope you and your family have a happy thanksgiving too.

    Dan

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    TechExec2

    No. Microsoft does not own Linux. But, from Microsoft's point of view, Linux violates Microsoft's intellectual property (patents). Of course, they think they own ALL software. So that must be factored in.

    If you research the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, Microsoft has MANY registered patents on all manner of things that are included in Linux. Other companies do as well. For example, patent hound IBM promised to not sue anyone running Linux over IP rights.

    Software patents are a mess. People are getting registered patents for all sorts of nonsense and the only way to deal with it is an expensive lawsuit in court. Most people who are sued settle. This is just wrong.

    I cannot name anything specific because I have not researched it. But, I guarantee that Windows contains lots of technology that is patented by others. That is why when Microsoft settles its many lawsuits, it "always" works in a patent cross-licensing agreement. Patents are a threat to Microsoft too.

    So, I think there is room to be concerned about Microsoft. They are devious and treacherous. This deal with Novell makes it a requirement that Linux users pay Novell (who pays Microsoft). This takes some of the cost advantage away from Linux and makes Windows more attractive by comparison. If you're going to be paying for it anyway, why not run Windows...

    But, in the end, I think most people choose to run Linux on servers and workstations for reasons beyond license cost. Linux will not be killed due to Microsoft's actions. I wouldn't worry. But, you may have to pay someone something (who pays Microsoft) one day.


    P.S. This thread of yours is likely to provoke a reaction...

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    Kiltie

    P.S. This thread of yours is likely to provoke a reaction...

    Which is why I am framing things as questions, no opinions from my side ..... yet.

    I have several more questions to add, but I think this discussion is significant, it deserves an article or major blog about it.
    In the meantime, I hope this thread opens an area for opinions and attitudes to be discussed.

    Ty for your comments TE, much appreciated mf. I hope for much more input here, while I do have an opinion, it is not engraved in stone.

    I am sitting on the fence here, reading, watching, listening.....

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    w2ktechman

    on that fence.
    I decided to hold my thoughts since the Novell deal. Now it seems to be clearing up those clouded skies though, Novell can use services and MS will sue all other Linux providers..... Maybe I should hold opinions for another time still. It doesnt look good though.

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    aad0002

    Your theory may turn out to be the simplist explanation and
    that may mean the best explanation.

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    drew6235

    For the justice department to Declare Microsoft a hostale monopoly. They controll 90% of the desktop market, 98% of the office software market, 94% of the browser market. IF this was a phone company, car company, ****, even a toy company, it would have been broken apart and highly regulated by our dear old uncle sam. Whay this has not happened in this case, one can only speculate. The patant mess aside, the truth is that windows was a knock off of the X-windows developed by xerox (as wall as the apple os) and linux is just basically an os inspired by unix. If enythig, microsoft should have to pay xerox royalties on the concept of a windowed OS. Microsoft is so politically and financialy powerfull that they can do as they please. On a positive note, the fact that they are asserting that linux "could be violating certain patents" is a sign that linux has matured enough to be a slight threat (I hardly think that 4% of the desktop market is much of a threat). As consumers, we should worry about our like of choices and that we are at the mercy of a monopoly. The kind of monopoly that will buy what it can't destroy with law suits.

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    stress junkie

    I read another post or blog here at TR that basically said that Microsoft got Novell to pay for IP to create a legal precedent. That precedent then creates a jumping off point for Microsoft to sue other Linux producers. That could include Linus Torvalds' group.

    Novell had for years taken the position that they would protect their Linux customers from litigation. They made this offer when the SCO people were gaining some momentum with their lawsuits. Currently Novell and IBM make this same offer to their Linux customers. IBM certainly has the money to back up their offer. I doubt that Novell can say the same thing. Novell may be concerned about lengthy and costly litigation. I can't imagine any other reason for them to make any deal with Microsoft. The key components in a Linux environment that might infringe on Microsoft patents involve add on products that Novell includes in their distributions.

    The most serious affront to Microsoft IP is Samba, which is becoming an Active Directory emulator with single sign on authentication into an AD environment. Well of course that's because Microsoft simply hijacked Kerberos and LDAP to create Active Directory but it still may cause some people to think about whether this is a legitimate IP infringement.

    Novell has made me very angry creating this alliance with Microsoft. Novell doesn't own Linux so Novell's actions don't directly affect Linux. If worse comes to worst we still have the BSD systems.

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    DanLM

    Sorry, I couldn't resist stress.

    I am like Kiltie, I am reading and watching. Truthfully, I am worried. Especially since I read your comments on Samba.

    Dan

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    Kiltie

    Suppose M$ offer $10 billion to Linux Torvas guaranteeing not to sue him,
    for whatever reason, provided he ........... (fill in the blank yourselves)?

    Who can possible refuse such an offer?
    Who has the resources to stand up to a battalion of M$ lawyers?

    I couldn't survive such an offer, could you?.

    They have the money, they have the legal team of overpaid lawyers.

    What would happen?

    Is it not a nightmare scenario?

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    TechExec2

    It's not a nightmare scenario because of the GPL. Linux is not owned by Linus Torvalds. Microsoft can buy people (e.g. Novell in their deal), but not Linux.

    If the community were sufficiently dissatisfied with anything Linus did (unlikely), it could fork the Linux kernel and continue working without skipping a beat.

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    DanLM

    The GPL which covers most distributions. Is this license binding to the point that MS can not claim ownership?

    Or, are they saying that part of the product that makes up the item covered in the GPL owned by them, thus voiding that license?

    That probably sounds like a really stupid question, and I apologize.

    Dan

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    Kiltie

    The whole purpose of this thread is to ask questions and get peoples opinions.

    Although by now, I see some major blogs and articles appearing, so this may be shadowed. Just wait until ZDNet and people like Ed Blot get a hold.

    One of the key questions I have is about the sheer muscle power of M$s financial and legal capability.

    With such power, what is stopping them?

    Why haven't they done it already?

    I suspect the answer, but I am an outsider to the US system.

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    stress junkie

    If the Linux operating system contains code that violates Microsoft IP then its validity under GPL is put at risk. Mind you most of Linux is based on Unix. On the other hand the ownership of Unix passed around quite a bit in the 1980s and Microsoft owned Unix for a while. SCO owned Unix for a while. Currently Novell owns Unix. But I think that Microsoft is interested in those technologies that have been replicated by Linux developers over the years without permission. I don't know exactly which features are of primary interest to Microsoft. I looked aroung a bit but I could only find vague statements from Microsoft that did not name specific patents or features.

    Edit: See my post entitled "A brief history of Unix" for more accurate information. I did some research from credible sources when I wrote that post.

    http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=204650&messageID=2126877

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    TechExec2

    .
    There are no stupid questions, especially when it comes to something as arcane as intellectual property law. Here is my best attempt at a short answer to a complex subject:


    "The GPL which covers most distributions. Is this license binding to the point that MS can not claim ownership?"

    No. Microsoft will never own "Linux" (kernel and all other software that we call "Linux"). The GPL will not be voided by a patent suit/win by Microsoft. The GPL keeps Linux free (as in freedom), but it does not protect anyone from a patent lawsuit. And, it does not protect Linux from patents. If MS wins a patent suit in court, it can demand the offending code be removed from Linux and/or monetary damages from the loser in the case. It will be up to the judge.


    What does this really mean?

    What this really means is unclear. Ordinarily, a patent infringement suit is between two companies and that is it. With Linux, MS will have to sue EACH Linux user and distributor to get satisfaction from each one individually. There is no single owner/infringer. Such a thing is impractical. But, MS could use RIAA-style tactics to intimidate people into paying monies to Microsoft or buying Novell's Linux, etc. This could happen. Microsoft clearly does not care how many people hate it.

    Software patents are being used like nuclear weapons. Patent holders don't have to actually use them (sue) to get others to do something (pay monies). So, it is possible that others with patent portfolios such as IBM or Redhat could sue Microsoft over Microsoft's own alleged patent infringements to get MS to back off on Linux or settle.

    Novell, who is also has a large patent portfolio, chose to make a side deal for itself and its own paying customers, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves. Novell could have teamed up with RedHat and others to present a united front against Microsoft. Novell is a weasel.


    The bottom line

    The bad news: There is going to be a fight. It will likely get ugly. Microsoft may end up getting money from Linux users, directly or indirectly.

    The good news: Linux will not be killed by Microsoft. The GPL will not be voided. Some lucky people will be able to continue using Linux with impunity depending on which country they are in (not in the U.S.).

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    Tig2

    Isn't that what took Unix down all those years ago? I can't see that as being a good thing but exactly what is indicated by the Oracle move.

    Like Kiltie, I am busily reading everything I can find. I would like to say I am keeping an open mind but must also admit that I am concerned. I want to have the freedom to select software based on my needs and not necessarily someone else's perception of my needs.

    This will be interesting to watch.

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    TechExec2

    My forking comment was just in response to Kiltie's question about MS buying off Linus Torvalds. That's just not going to happen IMHO. Even if the kernel were forked, it would not kill Linux. There is a lot more to Linux than the kernel. And, there is always the BSD kernel, etc. This is just not a problem.

    I'm not worried about this. I think the worst case is that some of us will have to start paying someone something for each copy of Linux we run. But, Linux itself will continue otherwise unaffected. Linux will be available and free (as in freedom), but no longer free (as in free beer). The problem is that the Linux distributors WANT us to pay them, even defiant RedHat. So, in that respect, they are on the same side that Microsoft is. They just don't want to share the monies with Microsoft (except for Novell the weasel who made a side deal). Once again, this is just the worst case scenario as I see it. It may play out differently (better for us).

    People outside the U.S. and out of the reach of Microsoft will never have to pay for Linux. That means there will always be a freely downloadable distribution somewhere. But, you may have to avoid downloading it in order to avoid Microsoft's RIAA-style lawsuits on you (which I think may happen).

    Linux will survive this. The joy of getting it for free may not. But, it will likely be a lot cheaper than Windows, so there is still something to look forward to! :-)

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    dawgit

    I still can't see straight (or I'd list it here) It's an interview with Mr.Gates:
    "BSD used to be...."
    That's what is in the article.
    Sad day.

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    TechExec2

    BSD is still free. My guess (?) is that Bill G. was referring to BSD being free in the past tense because BSD came before Linux and has largely been supplanted by Linux as the most popular free version of Unix.

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    Kiltie

    But I'll let others pick this up, as I am waiting for my Significant other to get in touch, what Col calls SWMBO

    And I obey, really obey, on bended knee if needed.

    You may call us guys silly, but we really do know who rules the world, you girls, of course).

    (until you get a computer problem that needs fixing)

    ---- here I go, sticking my neck out, waiting for the Axe to fall ----

    hehehe

    An offering of Peace: (We appreciate that you let us think we do from time to time ;-) )

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    Tig2

    Some of us geek chicks actually fix MEN'S computers.

    So there!

    We celebrate the annual turkey eating day in the US tomorrow so I am feeling kindly disposed to my fellow man just now. Lucky for you! :)

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    Kiltie

    You know full full that was tongue in cheek.


    *** grin ***

    I was training my Significant Other (My fiancee, if you are old fashioned, like me) to be a computer guru, but she left in August for San Francisco for a major medical op. She is getting close now, no longer trashing machines with random key presses, but she sure as **** types faster than me!!!

    I am a mere two fingered typist from the old Fortran days on IBM Mainframes and VAX/VMS.

    In those old days of Yore, I believe Windows didn't exist.


    I have a couple of PC problems, you are welcome to try an fix them. As if women could (Putting his head firmer in the noose as the Guillotine's poised)

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    Kiltie

    Linux is generally regarded as two things:

    1: The Linux kernel, written and copyright claimed by Linus Torvald.

    2: The various Linux operating systems, which include that kernel.

    So specify to which you are referring please?

    Linus does "own" the Linux kernel in a very simple sense that isn't disputed, but the operating systems are all over the place.

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    TechExec2

    Since I was responding to your question about Microsoft "buying" Linus and how that might affect things, by "Linux" I mean the Linux kernel. However, the same legal rights I was referring to apply to all software included in a Linux distribution that is licensed under the GPL.

    Microsoft cannot buy software that has been GPL'd and take it away from us. The GPL prevents this. This includes the Linux kernel, and all other software "pieces" that are licensed under the GPL and are included in a Linux distribution.

    No nightmare scenario. If you're still unconvinced or concerned, I'll expand on this.


    GNU General Public License
    http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html


    P.S. However, Microsoft could "buy" Linus and take him away from working on future releases of the Linux kernel, if he chose to be bought.

    P.P.S. I misspoke. Linus DOES own his own work on the Linux kernel. But, by licensing it to all of us under the GPL, he cannot revoke the rights granted to us under the GPL. It would have been correct to say that all of us own irrevocable rights to the Linux kernel as defined in the GPL (but that is to damn long!)


    edit: Added PPS

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    dawgit

    a class action case against M$, from say a billion, or so, of us for infringement of 'Our' part of the Linux Philosophy.
    huum, I'll take a $ of that.

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    drew6235

    Not only am I worried, I am scared $h..Less

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    aad0002

    A complete newcomer to open source products, but an
    ardent follower of technology news, I have been following
    this story and I am completely baffled. Whether you are
    talking about software, or talking about any other
    product, you claim intellectual rights to property you buy
    -- but not to the resources that were used to create the
    property. For example, my employer can claim rights to
    my company reports or plans and designs for product
    lines, but not to the English language that I used when I
    wrote these materials. I am really not getting this--
    perhaps because I am not really savvy at the economics of
    IT.

    MS made a deal with Novell. Novell is using one type of
    open source technology. How does that have any impact
    whatsover on other versions of open source software that
    have nothing to do wih Novell, or ever had anything to do
    with Novell.

    My thinking is that this is driven by the very costly daily
    fines imposed on Microsoft in Europe (the court at the
    Hague) as I write. Millions so far. These are related to
    bundling software in the new VISTA system. They are also
    facing new challenges from Adobe.

    The MS strategy has always been to create a controversy,
    invite litigation, drag it out for years, and wear the
    oposition down with court costs. Only MS could lose a
    Federal case and come out ahead of the game. Yet this is
    what happend in the '90's.

    Can and would someone please explain to this idiot what
    legal grounds MS has for this current controversy.

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    w2ktechman

    MS has done several things in the past few years to position themselves better against open source and particularly Linux. Several months ago I read in a local newspaper that MS had just patented (or re-patented, I dont remember) the FAT file system. This was due to excessive usage that MS was not getting paid for, mainly from Linux/Unix environments.
    MS holds many a patent, and maybe things were added to Linux before the Patents actually came out. Now they are too common an item in the OS, so MS may be getting ready to start sueing.
    But then again, I do not know Patent law, or what MS's true plans are, so I am waiting until more knowledgeable people start getting into it.

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    DanLM

    Currently Novell owns Unix

    Ok, FreeBSD is a UNIX operating system. Which happens to be my favorite, but that has nothing to do with this question. FreeBSD is also the core OS in Mac OS X.

    Could MicroSoft be positioning themselves for legal actions against Mac with regard to the core operating system?

    Dan

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    stress junkie

    The following web pages briefly describe the development of Unix from a technical point of view. Lots of legal details are missing.

    http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/

    Unix was invented at AT&T Bell Labs.

    One of the developers took a temporary teaching position at the University of California at Berkley. He taught his classes about this new operating system.

    When he returned to Bell Labs some of the people at UC at Berkley continued to write little utilities for their copy of Unix. This became known as BSD Unix and it was always regarded as genuine Unix. Work continued at Bell Labs. This work eventually lead to AT&T Unix. Thus Unix was forked but both versions were considered genuine Unix.

    http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/business.html

    AT&T was forced to break into several independent telephone companies in 1984. AT&T used this to get into the computer business. They started to sell their version of Unix as AT&T System 5. This was legally the official version of Unix but BSD was also popular.

    http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/wars.html

    In 1987 AT&T worked with Sun Microsystems to create a standard distribution. In 1988 other large companies including Hewlett Packard created the Open Systems Foundation to try to establish Unix standards. In response AT&T formed a competing standards group. Both groups created and issued their own version of Unix.

    http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/moveson.html

    AT&T spun off its Unix division in 1991 as a subsidiary that was still owned by AT&T.

    http://www.unix.org/what_is_unix/history_timeline.html

    In 1993 AT&T sold this subsidiary to Novell.

    http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/moveson.html

    In 1995 Novell sold its Unix business to SCO. (Novell has recently stated that it did not sell all of its rights to Unix technologies and has threated to sue SCO for claiming ownership of those IPs and maybe some other stuff. I'm still looking for on line refernces to that.)

    Bell Labs continued to develop new versions of AT&T System 5.

    Here are some notes on the ownership of the Unix brand name/trademark.

    http://www.unix.org/questions_answers.html#5

    ========

    Now, it is my understanding that Microsoft was involved at some time. I know that they created and marketed an operating system called Xenix that looked at acted like Unix.

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    DanLM

    I knew that ATT was heavily involved in Unix in the beginning, and then branch's started to occur. I think it was the general term Unix as owned by Novel that brought about that question.

    Ok, because Novel bought the Unix flavor as originally developed by ATT(the original Unix). Then Microsoft does not have any IP standing with FreeBSD, other then any Linux binaries that are offered in that distribution? Thus, Microsoft can not bring this type of IP law suit against Mac because of that? Other then possible Linux binaries as I said before?

    Man this is both scary and confusing.

    Again, I am more of a Unix(BSD) then a Linux fan. But I use many products that are cross platform with these Os's that can be very adversely affected by this marriage of the devils.

    Thank you again stress junkie, the background/history was appreciated.

    Dan

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    dawgit

    answered my question below also.
    Thanks
    (I have forgotten sooooo much, this getting old stuff is rough)

    +
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    dawgit

    When did Novell do that?

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    aad0002

    Earlier in the morning my code-slinger darling and I were
    talking about this issue. My view was the Apple might be a
    winner when the dust settles. But then it hit me. Apple/MAC
    servers are UNIX based. So what if.....yes, what if it isn't the
    idealist types who are developing interesting open source
    applications that is bothering MicroSoft. They can be picked
    off easily enough. Do they sense a shift in corporate use in
    the direction of MAC platforms? Are they worried about this?
    mid to long term?

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    TechExec2

    I don't know the specifics, but it appears Microsoft and Apple have a broad patent cross-license agreement that will make Mac OS safe from Microsoft.

    Microsoft/Apple Patent Cross-License Agreement
    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1997/Aug97/MSMACpr.mspx

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    jmgarvin

    It reminds me of the XOR patent joy....
    http://tinyurl.com/jfp5d

    The SCO thing is basically finished. Something like 200 of the 220 items have been thrown out and it seems like the rest are going to follow shortly. MS...er...SCO has lost that case.

    IBM is ramping up their distro production and the scuttle butt is that Red Hat and IBM might be getting together at some point.

    The Novell issues has me pretty worried in that:
    A) Ballmer basically said "Use Novell Linux or we'll sue you."

    B) MS is trying to prop up its case, in the EU, that it isn't a monopoly and isn't predatory.

    C) What does this mean for things like Samba 4 (ya...thanks for nothing MS)/CIFS/SMB, Vista/*nix integration, network files/local files indexing, and projects like Cedega/wine?

    I think MS sees the writing on the wall. Their current business model is dying and they don't know how to react. I think, at this point, MS needs to be restructured from the inside. Too many corporate politics, too many fiefdoms, and WAY too many chiefs.

    MS needs to get lean and mean. They need to drop the idea of single platform and move Office to totally work natively cross platform. They need create an OS that intgrates properly, even with their own products. They need to stop being so closed and open up...just a little, so that the community can step in and HELP them.

    MS,

    The reason you have so many security issues isn't because you are "popular," but because you have horrible security. The IE7/ActiveX sandbox has been broken and it looks like the virtual registry (which is pointless anyway) is already broken too.

    Why not let the security community step in and help you secure your product? Rather than suing the pants off, or worse ignoring, those that find the holes, why not embrace them and LET them fix the issues?

    You are going the way of IBM in the 80's. Be warned that the IT folks are going to jump ship and use something else. Why? We're tired of having to jump through hoops every time you come out with a new product. We've been burned with the Win2k -> Win2k3 upgrade and we were burned pretty baddly going frm Win2k -> WinXP.

    I don't think many corporations (your bread and butter) will make the same mistake with Vista. As a matter of fact, many are talking about dropping MS and moving towards thin clients. ****, I know most banks are moving as far away from MS products as quickly as possible...even the US government is looking at Linux.

    So what do you say? How about making quality and not forcing down peoples throats?

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    roaming

    I'm not being critical but would just like some more info. And do you know which banks? I'd probably feel a little safer if my bank was on the list.

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    Kiltie

    Have a butchers at some of these:

    http://www.computerworld.com/blogs/node/4008?source=NLT_BLOG

    The Internet is humming with news and opinions.

    What do you think? Is the truth being gradually revealed?

    oops sorry for UK slang: butchers=butchers hook=have a look (Cockney rhyming slang)

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    jmgarvin

    It seems MS AND Ballmer are coming off as bullies and it looks like it's being directly related to the SCO lawsuit.

    I hope IBM steps in an just squashes the FUD.

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    DanLM

    How much of the AIX kernel might be affected by this? Why is IBM so silent? And if I missed postings/press releases on them stating a position, I apologize.

    Dan

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    dawgit

    even when they try:
    "Novell, ... A once-bitter rival of Microsoft and creator of the SUSE Linux distribution that competes with ....." [from: http://www.computerworld.com/blogs/node/4008?source=NLT_BLOG ]
    They still can't get it right. Geeeze that stuff tweeks my twity.

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    DanLM

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15835078/

    Does this only only address future release's?


    Dan

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    Yes

    TechExec2

    .
    "Does this only only address future release's?"

    Yes. Only future releases of software licensed under the new GPL would be affected. If adopted by developers in the open source community, this cuts Novell off from all future releases of that software. Novell would have the right to distribute the old versions under the old GPL that was in effect when Novell received them.

    This would be a severe **** to Novell, just as it should be. This would be a great response by the open source community to this dastardly thing done by Novell.


    Microsoft Still Has Teeth

    This has no effect on the Novell-Microsoft agreement -- the covenant not to sue in that agreement is NOT extended to all Linux users. It only prevents more agreements like that one from being possible with new releases of open source software.

    And, it does not stop Microsoft from threatening and intimidating corporate Linux customers into paying for absolution in some way. Down the road, corporate Linux users may abandon Novell Linux (because it is then out-of-date), use RedHat Linux, and STILL choose to pay a fee directly to Microsoft for promise not to be sued over patent infringement.

    Finally, no matter what is included in the GPL, Microsoft can sue anyone it wants at any time.


    Prediction

    At some point, Microsoft is going to have to sue someone and make explicit patent claims. And, I predict they will. Only then will we know what Microsoft is claiming, and if the claim has teeth, or not.


    edit: Additional information, clarification

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    Kiltie

    Is this matter if litigation completely under M$s control?

    Will M$ win every single time because nobody can afford to take that on, so they settle out of court?

    M$ did a crafty one with SCO, they were not allowed to sue IBM directly, so they paid SCO to do it, or am I mistaken here?


    US law and politics is very confusing.

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    Kiltie

    Recently I bought a DVD of Matrix,

    I didn't have a DVD player as such, but I had the appropriate hardware, I installed the needed software and watched the film.

    Although I had seen it before, the very first time I have ever done that (used a PC to watch a DVD, as I don't watch TV, I never go to movies, Computers are my whole world. ....I must be a geek I suppose...

    However, the similarity of the concept of the Matrix, from the movie, and M% in it's current attitude, struck me as significant.

    What do you think?


    EDIT: too bothered to correct the obvious typos. ;-)

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    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 "Microsoft is coming to terms with the fact that Linux is an unstoppable force in the marketplace." Scott Handy, IBM VP of Worldwide Linux and Open Source.

    "Unfortunately, embedded in Microsoft's recent endorsement of Linux are claims regarding customers' needing protection from patent attack. Those claims are baseless." Jerry Rosenthal, OIN CEO

    Handy agreed and added, "We aren't sure what Microsoft's intentions are [in regards to patents]." However, "We have never seen any need for patent protection for Linux, and we don't see any need for it now. If legal claims exist, they should be resolved between vendors and not involve end-user customers."


    IBM Speaks about the Microsoft-Novell Agreement
    http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS4468266798.html

    Open Invention Network (OIN)
    http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/

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    DanLM

    Isn't Oracle only offering support(paid of course) for Linux?

    This could have been the kick in Microsoft's butt though. Oracle and Microsoft are competitors for corporate DB software, witch I believe caused Oracle to lower their price's because Microsoft offered a lower end/cheaper solution. If I am incorrect in this, please excuse me. I am not versed well enough in the different DB offerings.

    Is this partnership partially to address Oracle's entry into the Linux support market? Was Novel's acceptance of the partnership partially because of Oracle's entry into the support market? Where is Red Hat going then? They are now against two major money players.

    Microsoft, I still think is trying to scare customers(corporate) away from Linux. But, there are other issues that gets raised also.

    Dan

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    TechExec2

    .
    From what I read, Oracle is taking the source code for RedHat Enterprise Linux, removing all of the references to "RedHat", and replacing them with "Oracle". So, Oracle Linux is RedHat Linux in disguise. Of course, this is completely legal, proper, and allowed by the GPL.

    I think that the major difference between RedHat and Oracle vis-a-vis Linux is that RedHat has people on the payroll who develop open source Linux itself and Oracle does not (or very few). Except for that, RedHat and Oracle are selling the exact same thing: Paid support.


    Oracle and Microsoft: Yes. These guys are locking horns over relational databases.


    "Is this partnership partially to address Oracle's entry into the Linux support market? Was Novel's acceptance of the partnership partially because of Oracle's entry into the support market? Where is Red Hat going then? They are now against two major money players."

    No. The Microsoft-Novell agreement is not directly connected to Oracle Linux. They just happend to become public at about the same time. In my view, each one of these guys did what they did for their own reasons:

    Microsoft did their part for their own reasons: Patent saber rattling against Linux. Get some revenues from Novell Linux sales. Intimidate some weak-minded customers to drop Linux and run Windows. Intimidate other Linux distributors to sign a similar deal that funnels revenues to Microsoft.

    Novell did their part for their own reasons: Establish Novell Linux as the only Linux you can use that will protect you from big bad Microsoft (at least for now). And, there's also that little thing about the $350 million cash that Novell got up front from Microsoft. Note: Novell has lost over $800 million over the last 5 years. Despite appearances, they need the money. Lots of people making deals with Microsoft are losing money. Did you know? Sun Microsystems has lost $5.4 BILLION over the past 5 years?

    Oracle did their Linux offering for their own reasons: Give customers an Oracle-branded and fully supported and complete platform alternative to Microsoft's Windows and Redhat's Linux. This is Oracle's attempt to leverage Linux and Oracle's database against Microsoft's Windows and SQL Server platform. And, it is Oracle's attempt to avoid losing customers to RedHat's Linux, JBoss, and RedHat's "own" database (based on PostgreSQL) platform.


    "Microsoft, I still think is trying to scare customers(corporate) away from Linux."

    Yes and no. I agree that this is their ultimate wish. And it will work, but only just so far. If a corporation really wants to run Linux, they are going to do it. Other companies offering Linux solutions already offer patent suit indemnification. If Microsoft's PRIMARY goal was to scare customers away from Linux, they would not have opened the door to Novell Linux as a "safe" way to run Linux. That would have been a dumb primary goal. Scaring customers away from Linux is a secondary goal.

    I don't think Microsoft can stop corporations from running Linux now and they know it. The truth is that customers do not need to run Novell Linux to be safe from Microsoft. Microsoft knows this. It is a ploy. It is a lie. It is a bluff. It is...par for Microsoft, the FUDmaster.


    Hey...On a positive note: Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!


    edit: typo

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    DanLM

    Thanks TechExec for the info. And I hope you and your family have a happy thanksgiving too.

    Dan