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Microsoft Patents Software Linux

Microsoft Gives Xandros Users Patent Protection 298

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the try-try-again dept.
DigDuality writes "Microsoft, shrugging off licensing moves to prevent it from repeating its controversial patent deal with Novell, has signed a set of broad collaboration agreements with Linux provider Xandros that include an intellectual property assurance under which Microsoft will provide patent covenants for Xandros customers."
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Microsoft Gives Xandros Users Patent Protection

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  • by vwjeff (709903) on Monday June 04, 2007 @12:57PM (#19383723)
    Wow. Show me the patents or shut up.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:04PM (#19383827)
      The patent threat is just FUD.

      I'm more interested, right now, in how much Xandros was paid for this "deal". Particularly after the problems Novell had with their's. And with Jeremy Allison leaving Novell after that deal.

      They know their standing in the community is going to take a hit. So, how much was it worth to them?
      • Long term, it won't matter how much short term profit
        they make, they will die eventually, just as Microsoft
        wants.

        Money talks, integrity walks.
        • by MindKata (957167) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:34PM (#19387631) Journal
          "Long term" ... It looks like M$ are playing for the long term.

          First we had the M$+Novell stunt. Then the 235 fictitious patents and now the "deal" with Xandros. Its looking ever more likely, this is part of an ongoing serious tactical move by M$ to damage the name of Linux, by implication alone, that its somehow unsafe from legal action, unless licensed by them.

          I'll just quickly paste in a section out from my previous /. post on the subject...
          "Microsoft could well be using this "patent news" in a very underhanded, but very tactical way to scare corporations away from adopting open source tools and/or OS, in an attempt to tip the balance so corporations buy Vista. Non-technical Corporation bosses would be afraid of this kind of underhanded sabre rattling tactic of Microsoft, as they would fear wasting time and effort on Linux and so go the "safe" route of using Microsoft tools & OS. ("Safe"=What M$ tell them is safe)."

          Now with this Xandros move, it looks like its part of a bigger overall strategy. It looks ever more likely this is a much more serious tactical move than just sabre rattling to just sell more copies of Vista.

          I can only hope organisations and even governments who use Linux, can quickly take serious legal action against M$ for this strategically very devious mud slinging.

          If this isn't stopped fast, M$ are going to scare other Distros into signing up and each that do, add implied weight from a legal perspective, in the eyes of non-technical judges, that something is up with unlicensed Linux. Its a very underhanded strategy to imply something is wrong with Linux.

          If enough Distros sign up, then M$ just has to say in court "hey look judge, even these big Distros admit there was something wrong with Linux. So now, we want everyone else to pay up".

          Microsoft look like they are playing a very big chess game to win control over Linux and it needs to be stopped fast.
          • Patents (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Z34107 (925136)

            Or, it could be that Microsoft recognizes that their Windows market share is at its zenith, and wants to start disarming a potentially nuclear patent war. Sure, Microsoft has a bunch of patents, but how many times has Microsoft been accused of (or actually has been) "borrowing" some *nix code here and there?

            Granted, Microsoft could hire an entire state bar association if they wanted, but litigation is a pain and Microsoft's PR is bad enough as it is. Is is possible that there isn't a conspiracy, and th

      • by stuntpope (19736)
        They had a standing in the community?
        • Xandros was the Linux distribution running on Microtel hardware that WalMart was selling. It was a very big deal back then.

          It's sad to see how far they've fallen.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kadin2048 (468275) *
          Xandros had a reputation -- pre-Ubuntu, anyway -- of being the most "polished" Linux distro. I think they've used up most of their cachet, but there was a point a few years back when I suspect, had you asked Joe Random Linux User what the best hope of "Linux on the Desktop" was, they probably would have mentioned Xandros at some point in their response.

          I think Ubuntu pulled the rug out from under them, in large part, though; I haven't used any of their stuff lately, but last time I looked there just wasn't
      • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:48PM (#19384415) Journal

        They know their standing in the community is going to take a hit. So, how much was it worth to them?
        And this his Microsoft is showing how smart it is. It is using the very divisiveness that exists in the open-source community against to attack Linux. The SCO lawsuits have failed. The patents threats are being laughed at. So, pay someone a bunch of money, give them a promise of lawsuit protection and voila, watch a small portion of the community shut that vendor out. Then, target the next distro. Even if this isn't Microsoft's plan, it is working out this way. The Microsoft community shows more cohesiveness than this, which is their strength.
        • So, pay someone a bunch of money, give them a promise of lawsuit protection and voila, watch a small portion of the community shut that vendor out.

          It seems that they'd do it even without the lawsuit protection.

          Microsoft seems to just want that bit in there so they can spread FUD.

          So, for some money (small change to Microsoft, big bucks to Novell, no idea about Xandros), Microsoft purchases the assistance of a Linux distributor for spreading FUD.

          In which case, it is understandable that the rest of the communi

          • 1. Fork Xandros - call it Expandros or something.
            2. Do a "patent" deal with Microsoft.
            3. ???
            4. Profit!

            • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Monday June 04, 2007 @04:04PM (#19386303) Homepage
              I heard you were doing this thing where you -- generously, I must say -- agree not to sue a distrbution's customers for infringing a bunch of patents that you won't name. I also heard -- and this is why I'm writing -- that *you are paying *them for this. So...

              I'd like in on this. I'm going to create a new distro every day from now until August 7. In exchange for you not suing the people who buy or download it, I'd like you to give me, say, $5 million per distro. I can come down a bit, though.
        • by bigpat (158134) on Monday June 04, 2007 @02:14PM (#19384815)
          Well, I think this has just become a running joke. I think it is much more than just "the Linux community" that thinks Microsoft is full of shit with their lies and marketing ploys.

          Microsoft continues to lose all credibility as anything other than a "me too" technology company. Microsoft makes money on the kickbacks it dishes out to idiot CIOs and by its policy of designing vendor lock-in into everything they make, not on the merits of their products.

          Smart CIOs would ban MS products from the office, not standardize on them.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Kjella (173770)
            Microsoft continues to lose all credibility as anything other than a "me too" technology company.

            Unfortunately, the reputation of a 800lb juggernaut which let others pioneer shallow waters and only comes cruising in where there's an established market to conquer isn't nearly as negative as you might think. Their similar-but-legally-distinct products won't be the best or cheapest, but you know it'll be pushed enough to get a decent market share, the deep pockets to stick around and it'll play nice with your
        • by rvw (755107) on Monday June 04, 2007 @05:05PM (#19387281)

          So, pay someone a bunch of money, give them a promise of lawsuit protection and voila, watch a small portion of the community shut that vendor out. Then, target the next distro. Even if this isn't Microsoft's plan, it is working out this way.
          If MS cleans the weed out of the Linux distros this way, let them. If Red Hat, Slackware and Ubuntu/Debian don't follow, it will make the market a lot more clear, and it will help the "good" distros survive.
    • It should be seen as just another argument to exclude software from the list of patentable subject matters. Microsoft will learn it the hard way but they will.
    • by ajanp (1083247)
      After the last deal, how often do we really hear anything about SUSE except when talking about some new development with the Microsoft-Novell deal. I guess maybe this is just one more distro that we'll be hearing about less often (wait, actually, we'll probably be hearing about it more often on second thought..)

      And I guess these mysterious patents are pretty widespread and must cover a host of different issues considering:

      Under the agreement, Microsoft and Xandros will focus on five primary areas over the next five years: systems management interoperability, server interoperability, office document compatibility, sales and marketing support, and IP assurance.

      I would guess that they're mostly interested in server interoperability and syste

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iminplaya (723125)
      Microsoft: Make me...HAHAHAHAHA! The system is ours to use and abuse. Just try and stop us. We're good for at least ten more years.
    • That's what I keep saying.

      I wrote e-mails as an interested open source/free software developer to Microsoft's Lead Counsel, Brad Smith, but he keeps ignoring me.

      Who wants to sue Microsoft for slander of title?

    • Why? It's working ...
  • ... until all the Lemming drank the cool-aide of fear.

    How long before MS "protects" enough Linux companies that it claims it owns ... and even invented ... Linux? It may be time for Linus go join the Linux Protection Agency and assume a new identity.
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday June 04, 2007 @12:59PM (#19383759)
    This is great. I used to have to pick from so many distros, now I have 2 scratched off the list.

    I have used SuSe in the past, but I will never again. Xandros I never used and never will.
    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:14PM (#19383961)

      When it was just Novell, you know they'd be screwed after GPLv3 because they wouldn't have the resources to fork the last GPLv2 releases of everything. But on the other hand, if Novell and Xandros and ??? ('cause at this point I think we can assume MS will continue making deals) get together, there could be significant forks. And that's really, really bad news.

      All the people who've been saying "MS has something else up it's sleeve; just wait for it..." have just been vindicated, I believe.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MikeBabcock (65886)
        Forking isn't bad news. Unless Novell et al completely own the Copyrights on said GPLv2 software (say, a few packages?) they can't change the licensing on it. It will have to stay GPLv2 which allows the rest of us to keep seeing their sources and picking and choosing any useful patches they distribute to their software. On the other hand, they won't be able to do the same to GPLv3 software being worked on by the rest of the community. Forking is bad news for them, not us.
        • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:38PM (#19384235)

          The point I'm trying to wake is that it MS makes enough shills, they'll become the "community." The GPLv2 fork could become the dominant one.

        • by dAzED1 (33635)
          I had a hard time deciding between modding you up, or commenting to clarify something you touched on.

          Anything that is the results of any forks, has to remain at leastGPL2, unless they get all the contributors of that product to change. Then, any gpl2 work that SuSE et al. do that is actually useful, can be put right back into the gpl3 main of that product.

          This is bad how? Very few distros are going to fall for this crap. This nonsense will be over within 18 months, and RedHat, Ubuntu, etc have much longe
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jonbryce (703250)
            Only if it is released as "GPL 2 or later". SuSE could release all their stuff as GPL 2 only, then it can't be put in the GPL 3 version of the product.
        • Aren't most GNU tools pretty much done? What significant "must have" features are planned for the next few years? What would stop a V2 "community" from examining code from the V3 tree, messaging it a bit so they can't be accused of copying and then putting in their own branch?

          In any case, if "free" software is split into two branches, it's only going to make it harder to convince companies to adopt either one.
    • by VON-MAN (621853) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:43PM (#19384323)
      That happens to be openSUSE nowadays, and it is totally unencumbered by any deal Novell has made with Microsoft. And if you used SuSE in the past you're probably interested to know that Yast2 is now a fast, complete and GPL'ed system configurationtool. If you install the smart packages, you can select repositories and update your machine synaptic-style. You'd find that allmost every interesting package can be found on the repositories for openSUSE (from MythTV to XDVDshrink and hugin to ltsp). Novell updates openSUSE like clockwork, and is equally like Red Hat and IBM a big force in kernel development. That makes openSUSE a popular, high quality, solid, open source distribution (and there aren't that many).

      Now I know that Novell is very impopular now, but I think, that if openSUSE would disappear it would be loss for open source as a whole. And if also Xandros would disappear it really wouldn't be that great anymore.
      • by muszek (882567)
        I don't give a shit if Big Mac is the tastiest and healthiest food on earth. What makes it a "no go" is how McDonalds treats its workers, customers, business "partners" and the environment.

        Same here.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dclozier (1002772)
      Agreed - I actually was considering Xandros for my parents. Xandros looks very "windows like" and if I recall correctly it came with proprietary codecs as well for DVD playback. It was because of this that I considered them. I also considered Linspire for similar reasons. I wonder if they'll be next on Microsoft's list of converts?

      I went with Ubuntu in the end. Now I'm glad I did.

      ~Dave
    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday June 04, 2007 @02:10PM (#19384747)
      I used to be a big SuSE fan, starting way back in 1999. My last SuSE version was 10.1.

      Now I'm using Kubuntu.

      As for the OpenSUSE apologists, no thanks. OpenSUSE still exists at Novell's whim, using Novell's resources. Why use that when you can use a distro that has nothing to do with MS?
      • by molarmass192 (608071) on Monday June 04, 2007 @03:01PM (#19385495) Homepage Journal
        Ditto ... we had several SuSE licenses, they're slated to be replaced by RHEL5 by the end of the year. It was mostly my call to make, all it took was a quick slide show to management stating how SuSE was entering into a licensing agreement with MS, threatening the continuity of their SuSE Linux line, and approval to migrate to RHEL5 was a done deal. In the end, this is a good thing, it focuses resources back towards RH who really have maintained their stance on the GPL all along. If anybody is going to go to the mat for Linux, it'll be RH.
  • From their website... [xandros.com]

    Office document compatibility. Xandros and Microsoft share the view that competing office productivity applications should, by design, make it easy for customers to exchange files with one another. To that end, Xandros will join Microsoft and other companies that are building open source translators fostering interoperability between documents stored in Open XML and Open Document Format. Xandros will ship the translators in upcoming releases of its Xandros Desktop offering.

    Does this mean OO is included?

  • Divide and Conquer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Not exactly a new strategy.
  • by theTrueMikeBrown (1109161) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:02PM (#19383795) Homepage
    I am of the opinion that Microsoft will continue to push the boundary as long as it is around.

    I don't really know if this is 'news'. Expecting people to be too surprised at this is sort of like saying "Hey, everybody, another person was killed in the middle east today" and expecting to get responses like "Wow, I didn't see that one coming!" or "You gotta be kidding."
  • Disambiguation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:02PM (#19383803)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protection [wikipedia.org]

    Anybody care to suggest which of those articles is applicable?
  • "Another Distro Bites the Dust." OK, we've got some bad news Monday stuff going on, what with McCain being even more on my bad list now. On the other hand, now we have fewer viable Linux distros to argue about ;)
  • Selling Out (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:07PM (#19383865)
    What is selling out providing, except to bolster Microsoft's position that they must have something, else nobody would be dealing with them?
  • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:08PM (#19383879) Homepage Journal
    For those who have never heard of Xandros (which will be a lot of you), it's a commercial distribution descended from Corel's Linux system, funded by the same VCs that funded Ximian, and derived from Debian at one point, although I don't know how much comes from there any longer. They've been around a long time, although for obvious reasons I can't believe they are very successful.

    They took the money that Microsoft offered. That's really all the news there is here - that Microsoft found another foundering commercial Linux distribution willing to sign up to the patent covenant and give it publicity. The technical aspects are irrelevant, as they indeed are in the Novell deal. Xandros is a little fish without significant technology to offer. Even in the case of Novell, nobody needed Microsoft's help with virtualization - the only thing Microsoft can offer is the slight performance increment of paravirtualization for Windowsover the full virtualization that is available now.

    There's not much to do about Xandros. They aren't a big player, this isn't going to make them into one. We should turn away from them as was the casewith Novell, but it seems a bit silly since most of us didn't even know they existed.

    Bruce

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Are Xandros planning on distributing GPLv3 code? Has Microsoft just affirmed it is prepared to shield all downstream recipients against infringement claims? I hear Microsoft talking about building bridges which is strange considering the GPL is already a straight road.

      I think the wider implications of this are important considering the FSF have essentially put Microsoft on notice with regard to GPLv3. Is Microsoft really spoiling for a fight or are they just upping their bluff?
    • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:52PM (#19384471) Homepage Journal
      Those of you who would like to tell Xandros what you think may do so here [techp.org]. You may also tell Novell here [techp.org]. - Bruce
      • by KlomDark (6370)
        Why do we have to create an account just to sign the petition? I was going to sign it, but lazyness kicked in. And what else does this account give us access to?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Bruce Perens (3872) *
          I REALLY need to be able to contact you when your state, nation, whatever is considering a bill that would be harmful to Open Source software. To do that, I need to know where you are. This is much more important than the Xandros and Novell matters.

          Thanks

          Bruce

    • Bruce, are you sure that Microsoft is paying Xandros?

      When Microsoft did the deal with Novell, the money (mostly) went from Microsoft to Novell. They could spin this as "Novell's patents are worth more" or "Microsoft ships far more units". But Xandros can't have much of a patent portfolio, if any. So if Microsoft is paying them, it's real hard to spin. "Microsoft is paying Xandros so that Microsoft won't sue Xandros's customers." Uh, yeah. Why doesn't Microsoft just not sue, and keep their money?

      If Mic
      • Re:Question (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Monday June 04, 2007 @02:58PM (#19385451) Homepage Journal
        I think that Microsoft is making sweetheart deals with failing Linux distributions so that it can support its political stance in favor of increases in software patenting. They are using Xandros to drive Microsoft's campaign to create a situation in which any competing product must somehow be infringing of Microsoft, or at least is believed to be infringing of Microsoft.

        Xandros didn't have the money to pay Microsoft for this. They were dying anyway.

        Thanks

        Bruce

  • What the fuck was this guy thinking, to make the same kind of deal despite seeing Novell get blackballed by the community? I mean, even Novell should have known better, but at least they might not have anticipated the response. This guy has no excuse.

    And what's even worse (for him) is that this agreement, being after March 28, isn't grandfathered in like the Novell deal. From the article:

    The IP assurance deal comes hot on the heels of the release of the fourth, and final, draft of the GNU General Public L

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:32PM (#19384167)

      What the fuck was this guy thinking, to make the same kind of deal despite seeing Novell get blackballed by the community?

      The difference is that Xandros is a dieing company and a little cashola from Microsoft keeps them afloat a little longer. And too bad for Xandros, Microsoft doesn't own Linux, SCO does... ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)



      Novell may be getting "blackballed by the community" but recent earnings reports show that since the Novell/MS deal, Novell has gained share at Red Hat's expense. The "community" of which you speak might be good at "blackballing" but so what? That community doesn't pay the bills. It's not like you guys actually buy any distros or sign up for support contracts anyway, so you can "blackball" whomever you want. It makes no difference since distros aren't seeing any money from you anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) *

        The "community" of which you speak might be good at "blackballing" but so what? That community doesn't pay the bills.

        Yeah, but that community does make the software. If the community gets pissed off, Novell has no more product to sell -- hence the GPLv3.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Grishnakh (216268)
        The "community" of which you speak might be good at "blackballing" but so what? That community doesn't pay the bills. It's not like you guys actually buy any distros or sign up for support contracts anyway, so you can "blackball" whomever you want. It makes no difference since distros aren't seeing any money from you anyway.

        Don't be ignorant. The "community" typically has day jobs in the IT sector where they get to recommend vendors. By pissing off the community, they've bought themselves a lot of bad wor
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jedidiah (1196)
          SLES is already "that other enterprise Linux". IOW, some zealot inside the IT organization has to go out of their way to make Novell visible to the CxO crowd. Novell is already in a disadvantaged position. Pissing off the people most likely to make them visible is not the brightest strategy.
    • This could be a challenge thrown down to the GPLv3. They have their big fish (Novell) that won't be affected. Now they have a little fish (that would be subjected to GPLv3) that they can use. If Xandros goes under, no big deal. I see Xandros simply as a tool much like SCO was.
    • This [penny-arcade.com] will explain things better.
  • by pieterh (196118) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:09PM (#19383907) Homepage
    With Novell, Microsoft subsidised Novell Suse licenses. With Xandros, Microsoft is doing a deal to provide "patent covenants", which means protection being sued by Microsoft for patent claims that Microsoft has not actually specified.

    The game is to knock down the commercial Linux vendors, one by one, and establish them all as clients of Microsoft's "intellectual property". You can bet that the pressure on Red Hat to settle is quite intense. First, their competitors are being subsidised. Second, their clients are being blackmailed.

    I've written a more detailed analysis [digitalmajority.org] on this. Microsoft is using software patents to try to take ownership of GNU/Linux and all free software / open source that would be distributed along with it.

    Divide and conquer. At the end, the volunteer distros will be left alone to do their work, contributing to the shiny new future, while Microsoft makes sure it gets its 10%.

    GPLv3 is being seen as many in the industry as the answer. I think that's wishful thinking. The real answer here is a lawsuit from the government for abuse of monopoly power, where Microsoft is using its monopoly in the desktop area to interfere in the server OS market.

    On a related tangent it seems that the Redmond astro-turfing drones are out in force, insulting RMS, calling the GPLv3 all kinds of names, claiming that "freedom" includes the right to abuse other people. Well, drones, suck it. Doesn't matter how much you scream and rant, how much your managers pay you to mess with ISO and push OOXML, Microsoft is either going to learn to "do no evil", or it's going to sink like the Titanic.
    • That is something basically nobody here gets, but Suse has no involvement in the Microsoft/Novell deal at all. In fact, the name Suse isn't used anymore the distro is called openSUSE nowadays. openSUSE is the "open" Novell development branch, just as Fedora was for Red Hat, except Novell still fully supports openSUSE ('wonder how long). openSUSE is excluded from the deal, only the Novell enterprise distros are part of it. Novell obviously has many patents of it's earlier days as a company, this stuff is wha
  • According to THIS [nwsource.com] story, patents are not involved.

    Unlike the Novell deal, Microsoft isn't licensing any patent rights from New York-based Xandros, according to the company. Nor does the Xandros deal focus on virtualization

  • Protection racket? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by INT_QRK (1043164) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:16PM (#19383975)
    So in Brooklyn, for example, Fingers and Lucky come into your restaurant one day and demand a weekly payment in return for which nothing bad happens to your business or your cute little kids. See the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeering,quoting [wikipedia.org] definition of Racket, quoting the article: "...best-known is the protection racket, in which criminals demand money from businesses in exchange for the service of "protection" against crimes that the racketeers themselves instigate if unpaid..." So is there a *RICO case here? * RICO (from the same article) "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (18 U.S.C. 1961-1968)...allowed law enforcement to charge a person or group with racketeering, defined as committing multiple violations of certain varieties within a 10 year period.... purpose..."the elimination of the infiltration of organized crime and racketeering into legitimate organizations operating in interstate commerce."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MontyApollo (849862)
      Microsoft is not threatening to commit a crime, so I don't believe it would be racketeering. Threatening "something bad" is just business unless the "something bad" is criminal. Lawyers do it all the time.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by INT_QRK (1043164)
        So, notwithstanding my tongue-in-cheek analogy regarding "racketeering," because it's a lawyer who promises not to sue for a non-existent case in return for a settlement fee that's just below the threshold to make it less damaging to settle than to fight, even if would be a sure win, that's morally OK?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MontyApollo (849862)
          A big business usually can't have morals. First off they are an organization, not a person, and second the shareholders ultimately are most concerned about making money. Laws tend to be the controlling factor in business rather than morals, but the good point there is that citizens can theoritically change laws.

          In your example of the lawyer, I personally think that is a good reason to change the law. I think the lawyers should be personally punished for pursuing frivolous lawsuits.
      • by PPH (736903)
        They could be committing fraud if they make false claims with respect to the patents they hold and use these clains to extract payments.
        • I strongly suspect that they have been granted the patents they claim; they might not withstand challenge, but until they are challenged they would be valid (which is probably why they haven't explicity listed them). As long as their patents are currently valid, I don't think you could claim fraud. I think only the people who paid Microsoft to use these particular patents could claim fraud anyway. Third parties might claim deceptive advertising or something, but if their patents are currently valid then the
  • My impression of Xandros (soley from visiting their booth at Linuxworld) has always been that it is a distro focused on trying to be compatible with MS in the enterprise environment via some specialized Samba-based utilities. It never seemed to me like they offered anything really compelling, though, and this is obviously a "me-too" tactic to remain relevant.
  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:23PM (#19384055)
    As others have said, this is part of Microsoft's FUD program to convince people that Linux venders believe Linux does have major patent vulnerabilities, and are bowing to Microsoft's ownership (although, I thought SCO owned Linux, why isn't Microsoft going after them?). But the real Enterprise Linux players will never fall for this. Red Hat might, but Oracle probably will not, given how much Larry hates Bill. Mandrivel and all the rest are not US based, and probably don't see much threat.
  • Not Grandfathered (Score:3, Insightful)

    by codepunk (167897) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:31PM (#19384149)
    March 28th was the Grandfathered cutoff date for the GPL3 as far as I know...interesting...
  • I was wrong (Score:5, Funny)

    by ClosedSource (238333) on Monday June 04, 2007 @01:46PM (#19384387)
    There is a way to profit from open source. Make a Linux distro and then make an agreement with MS. Sweet.
  • I have a gun - I can either shoot you, or protect you. Your choice. Bwahahahaha...
  • Microsoft is here to save the day. Two down, hundreds to go. Who will be next? Keep tuned.
  • Microsoft are in effect writing themselves into a corner.

    Linux people have been afraid of Microsoft going on a patent rampage for years now. If Microsoft goes around signing contracts with everyone and their dog promising that if they do go on a patent rampage, said signee will be exempt, eventually they'll have done that with enough people that those who will be left that they can sue (in terms of large entities at least) will be effectively nill.

    You might come back and say that any contract Microsoft off
  • You are Here -- * (Score:2, Insightful)

    by handmedowns (628517)
    First they ignore you

    then they ridicule you

    then they fight you --- You are here

    then you win.

  • by rbrander (73222) on Monday June 04, 2007 @02:34PM (#19385133) Homepage
    Remember how the movie "Bull Durham" emphasized what a dramatic jump it is from the bush leagues to what they called "The Show", the majors?

    Xandros and a dozen other of what Mr. Perens posted above as "struggling" Linux distributions are struggling because people like myself (MEPIS man, 3 years) consider their $50 or $100 OS price a Grave Decision and hopscotch through various distros (Mandrake, Lycoris and Linspire for me) and probably settle on a totally free one. Like me.

    So Xandros and many others have gone over a decade unable to ever meet payroll for more people that can gather around one conference table, with growth flattening after they reach a base of a few thousand home users, a couple of dozen minor corporate installs and perhaps a couple of larger ones.

    Then MS comes along, and it's not the direct cash so much as the mere prospect of a CHANCE of being seen as a Serious Corporate Solution that might, just might now get picked up by a couple or six dozen larger installs in the hundreds of desktops each. Slashdot readers might not be scared of the patent boogeyman but the larger a company is, the more averse it is to the prospect of such risks, however small. To them, a volume purchase price of $25 per desktop is very, very cheap insurance against even spending one legal-staff-week on a lawsuit threat.

    So a company like Xandros can "offend" a free software community that has been collectively sending it a few hundred thousand a year at most to grab a shot at the brass ring of joining "The Show" and selling thousands of installs to big corporations. Like a baseball player taking a longshot at "The Show" even if it burns all bridges back to the bush leagues.

    You can blame them but you should also see their point of view.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DannyO152 (544940)

      Okay for the short term.

      But isn't there a point within the next 60 months when they will have to fork and maintain their own GPL2 licensed versions of vi, gcc, emacs, grep, awk, bash, tar, etc.? If they can't afford a conference table of employees, where will that support come from? Will Microsoft do it?

  • I liked Xandros...used to like them anyway. It was a nice distro for people who still had one foot in the Windows world. Not sure I even care why they got in bed with Microsoft, they are tainted by the association.

    If Microsoft's strategy is to create a clear winner among Linux distributions, they're doing a fine job. Although I'm completely mystified why they would think that was a good idea.

    Who knows with Ballmer at the helm.

  • Maybe the reason why Microsoft are doing this is because they know that any distro they touch is going to get immediately shunned by a very large number of Linux users. Hence, it's one way of distroying the body of distributions, one step at a time.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday June 04, 2007 @02:53PM (#19385397)

    Buy Xandros, now with immunity from Microsoft Lawsuits(tm)!

    Sounds pretty similar to this. [youtube.com]

  • by Pengo (28814) on Monday June 04, 2007 @08:47PM (#19389901) Journal
    1. Pick distro's nobody is using.
    2. Give them patent protection hoping people will use them knowing they suck.
    3. ...
    4. Profit!!

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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