Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Businesses Linux Business Red Hat Software

Red Hat Rejects Microsoft Deals 287

Posted by Zonk
from the don't-tread-on-this-penguin dept.
Kurtz'sKompund passed us an article detailing another loss in Microsoft's licensing push: Red Hat has summarily rejected Redmond's offer of an alliance. The article also touches on Ubuntu's rejection of the same offer, which we discussed this past weekend. ZDNet reports on comments from Mark Shuttleworth and the Red Hat organization, with Shuttleworth stating "Allegations of 'infringement of unspecified patents' carry no weight whatsoever. We don't think they have any legal merit, and they are no incentive for us to work with Microsoft on any of the wonderful things we could do together." Red Hat was even more blunt, stating the organization refused to pay an "innovation tax" to Microsoft. "Red Hat said there would be no such deal. Referring to previous statements distancing itself from Microsoft, the company insisted: 'Red Hat's standpoint has not changed.' The company referenced a statement written when Microsoft revealed it was partnering with Novell, saying that its position remained unaltered. Red Hat director of corporate communications Leigh Day added: 'We continue to believe that open source and the innovation it represents should not be subject to an unsubstantiated tax that lacks transparency.' Many open-source followers argue that Red Hat, as the largest Linux vendor, would have a lot to lose from partnering with Microsoft."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Red Hat Rejects Microsoft Deals

Comments Filter:
  • Thank goodness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:07PM (#19567791) Journal
    Somebody has some sense! I was starting to wonder.
    • Re:Thank goodness (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:41PM (#19568339) Homepage
      Makes sense and makes sense... How much do you think SCO vs IBM has cost IBM so far, including digging up every document for their fishing expendition, answering all the bullshit motions, writing up all the reasons SCO is wrong, double wrong and still wrong? Think they'll recover a dime when SCO folds? Nope. The coffers are empty if Novell get their motion through, and if not they'll burn on lawyers long before the case has come to a close.

      I think the Microsoft deal isn't about whether Microsoft has or doesn't have anything, it's about not being the victim of it. Given the insanely trivial things that can be patented, it'll be a huge undertaking to defend yourself. I doubt you'll find any way to recover those costs, certainly not turn it into a profit. And even if you did, it's a cheap bill for Microsoft for throwing you on the wayside - many companies have ended up there with Microsoft paying them a few bucks while laughing all the way to the bank with the market they captured.

      Sooner or later, Microsoft will have to have a show of hands, but not before Novell etc. start getting impatient about "what did we pay for, really? everyone else is doing the same as us, and you're not striking down on them". Until then, FUD beats facts in marketing every day of the week. I bet Novell got a decent deal too for being first, credibility witness and all that. It's the latecomers who say "hmm, maybe we should have a deal too" which they bleed. So yeah, it might make business sense even if the claims are utterly and completely bogus. Sad but true, but they still deserve the flogging they get here.

      • Re:Thank goodness (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @03:07PM (#19568757) Homepage Journal

        Makes sense and makes sense... How much do you think SCO vs IBM has cost IBM so far, including digging up every document for their fishing expendition, answering all the bullshit motions, writing up all the reasons SCO is wrong, double wrong and still wrong? Think they'll recover a dime when SCO folds? Nope. The coffers are empty if Novell get their motion through, and if not they'll burn on lawyers long before the case has come to a close.

        This is different because:

        1. Microsoft is not SCO. Microsoft is a real company that will not fold over any lawsuits related to this issue.
        2. Microsoft funded SCO. The USDOJ has obviously been bought off but you can only push them so far.
        3. Microsoft claims to know the precise number of patents, where SCO claimed to only have a vague idea of the number of alleged infringements. It is easy to demand that they put up or shut up in court, especially since patents are filed with the USPTO whereas copyright doesn't require any registration.

        I think the Microsoft deal isn't about whether Microsoft has or doesn't have anything, it's about not being the victim of it.

        That is the only way in which this is similar to the SCO vs. Linux issue.

        Sooner or later, Microsoft will have to have a show of hands, but not before Novell etc. start getting impatient about "what did we pay for, really? everyone else is doing the same as us, and you're not striking down on them". Until then, FUD beats facts in marketing every day of the week.

        It's not necessary to win in the short term. And in the long term, Linux sells itself.

      • I doubt you'll find any way to recover those costs, certainly not turn it into a profit.
        Unless you add in the thousands, if not millions, of people who would chip in money to fight microsoft and save linux. That might change the equation a bit.
    • by opkool (231966)
      Looks like Mandriva also told no to Microsoft. See this link [vub.ac.be] for further info.

      From that site:

      09:32 [ AdamW] sander85: there are no plans to do a deal with microsoft, and that comes from the top (fb)
      (fb is probably François Bancilhon, Mandriva's CEO).

      And AdamW is Mandriva's official spokeperson.

      Peace!

  • Go Redhat (Score:4, Funny)

    by niceone (992278) * on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:10PM (#19567829) Journal
    You are David, MS is Goliath, your slingshot is GPL'd, Linus' rocks are... um lost it a bit there.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:10PM (#19567831) Homepage Journal
    apparently my choice was wise. can trust these people.
    • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:41PM (#19568353) Journal
      apparently my choice was wise. can trust these people.

      RedHat is definitely one of the good guys. While Google's Evil-o-meter has been slipping of late, RedHat has consistently been true to their mission. They develop technology that's open and freely available a-la CentOS [centos.org] and have some of the finest hacks around working full time on open stuff. (Alan Cox, et al)

      RedHat tends to get dissed around here a bit because they target servers rather than workstation/desktop Linux. They are focused on making money the honorable way, and some people seem to have problems with anybody making money.

      But look at their track record. They've consistently been true to the spirit and purpose of the GPL and free or open source software in general, and have been both profitable and successful in doing so. (Hint: Ubuntu is not yet profitable)
  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:10PM (#19567841) Homepage Journal
    Show us the patents. Enough said.
  • And so did Mandriva (Score:5, Informative)

    by dotpavan (829804) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:11PM (#19567859) Homepage
  • by micromuncher (171881) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:12PM (#19567891) Homepage
    ... its effectively an admission of guilt. Would anyone sign an agreement saying "I'm guilty of unspecified crimes"?
    • by pembo13 (770295) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:30PM (#19568161) Homepage
      others have: Novel, Xandros, Linspire
      • Which, from a certain point of view, makes Novell, Xandros and Linspire just one rung down the ladder from Microsoft.

        Microsoft may be right on this, and they may be wrong. Would it be too much for them to produce evidence to back up their claims before demanding that everybody jumps into bed with them?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FireFury03 (653718)
        others have: Novel, Xandros, Linspire

        But in so doing they have gained a lot of bad feeling in the Free software community. And these companies do need the community's support - Red Hat, etc. have their roots in the Free software world and understand this. Novell on the other hand is a well established propriatory software company who has jumped into the Free software world and I don't think they yet fully understand how important it is to not piss off the community.
    • It seems more like an Alford plea to me. NOVL/etc pay the money without admitting any wrongdoing, and MS doesn't look any further. Just to play devil's advocate, how many of the tech companies out there that x-license patents bother to list each and every one? I know the "FUD" angle is being played here against community Linux, though.

      Congratulating Red Hat on not licensing with MS, however, is like congratulating them on not cutting their own throat. They're probably the closest thing out there to corporat
    • I'm a Catholic, you insensitive clod!!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by shaitand (626655)
      Novell did it for $300,000,000.
  • Two camps? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:13PM (#19567901) Journal
    While the GPL is the GPL is the GPL, I wonder if this will lead to any kind of animosity between, say, RH and SuSE?

    Even worse (serious question), will this lead to less interoperability between those who refuse MSFT and those who sold their souls (IMHO)? Sure, YaST vs. YUM type stuff will always be present, but what of deeper items, say things that would otherwise wind up being incorporated in kernel.org? I wish I had a better way to articulate the question ATM, but the jist is that maybe the whole 'divide and conquer' plan may work more than most folks think it will, in that either by necessity of 'patent deals' or by necessity of what-have-you, the coders @ Novell won't or can't spread their improvements to RH and vice-versa.

    IMHO, that is a greater danger than any lawsuit blustering and posturing that has been coming out of Redmond.

    /P

    • by khasim (1285)
      will there be any issues with patches submitted by the pro-Microsoft segment with regard to copyrights or patents or such?

      Will the pro-Linux segment refuse such?

      Well, that's part of what the GPL v3 is supposed to address. Just in case.
    • "Here here!"

      I've been trying to articulate the same thing because I used to think it was about using litigation to bury distros or at least key clean-room implementations of their products.

      It's unclear how Redmond will use the agreements to trigger a figurative bomb or _what_ the bomb will do.
    • Probably drivers (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:33PM (#19568205)
      We have all been frustrated by lack of driver support for Linux. I suspect that MS will wind up using partnerships with hardware vendors to write proprietary Linux hardware drivers, release them binary-only and compile them into the kernels of their minion-distributions by default, thus giving the sell-out distros an functional advantage over the pure distros.

      Furthermore, users of the pure distros won't be able to swipe or reverse-engineer the binaries without being at risk for infringement lawsuits.

      The end result will be a market-perception of superior functionality and legal saftey when using Linux distributions that include a Microsoft tax.

      • Re:Probably drivers (Score:5, Informative)

        by kasperd (592156) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @03:51PM (#19569451) Homepage Journal

        I suspect that MS will wind up using partnerships with hardware vendors to write proprietary Linux hardware drivers, release them binary-only and compile them into the kernels of their minion-distributions by default, thus giving the sell-out distros an functional advantage over the pure distros.
        Doing so would be a very clear violation of copyright. If anybody starts selling such a distribution, I predict they will receive a cease and desist letter from some Linux developers. (I might consider writing it myself, but probably some larger contributor would do so before me).

        Furthermore, users of the pure distros won't be able to swipe or reverse-engineer the binaries without being at risk for infringement lawsuits.
        That depends on where they live. There are countries that have a law that clearly states such reverse engineering is legal, and the right to reverse engineer cannot be given up by a contract.

        In effect you are suggesting that the copyright violator sues the copyright owners over something the owners does with their own code, which would be legal in many parts of the world even if they didn't own the code in the first place.
    • by compm375 (847701)
      I don't see how interoperability issues could happen as long as the distros keep distributing everything under the GPL.
      From GPL 2:

      7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously

      • There's no rights given back or forth; it's strictly a promise not to inquire or initiate legal action. Not to mention that the FSF or any other party taking action against these companies on behalf of GPLv2 violations undercuts half the case for GPLv3.
    • All MS can accomplish by these games is to drive up the value of the truly Free distros. Their partners are tainted. For the most part these distros are barely twitching.

      By making Free distros more scarce they become more consolidated and supportable by the community. They can keep this up until eventually the remainder are too valuable for them to buy.

      This strategy needs an end game to be effective, and I don't see it.

  • by iknownuttin (1099999) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:18PM (#19567963)
    when you read this, had this image of Gates, dressed as Darth Vader with the breathing, holding out his hand to Red Hat (or whomever), and saying, "Come with me to the Dark Side and we can rule together!"

    No? I guess it's just me.

    Or what about, "Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated." No?

    Never mind.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by CautionaryX (1061226)
      That's funny, all I heard was a loud "NOOOOOOOOOO!".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tatisimo (1061320)
      I always pictured Gates as the Emperor and Ballmer as Vader standing over a small company. As the small company person nurses a wound from a chair expertly thrown at it, Emperor Gates steps in front of Darth Ballmer and says: "Throw yours at him. Let your unethical business instinct fill your soul. Together, we can monopolize the software!"
    • so... (Score:3, Funny)

      by everphilski (877346)
      So Bill Gates ... is ... Linus' ... Father?
    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      If it makes you feel better, I thought of that scene in Ice Pirates where the good guys get captured and made into "eunuch" servants, only they aren't actually castrated but merely threatened with a terrible-looking steel jaw castrator machine and told to behave (by the buxom villainess who had her own reasons for not wanting them snipped).
  • Glad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spungo (729241) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:18PM (#19567971)
    I'm glad that there are still F/OSS companies out there that value common sense over greed.
    • It's not an either or, enlightened self interest (a better form of greed) ensures you don't piss off your developers and submitting to a racketeer is never a wise course of action, they'll just keep coming back for more
  • by cloudkiller (877302) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:22PM (#19568031) Homepage Journal
    It looks like the MS & Linux war is finally starting to take shape. At least now I have a side to stand on. Someone get me my red hat and a cup of ubuntu, I've got partitions to make.
  • by segedunum (883035) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:26PM (#19568091)
    A lot of people have made a lot of the Novell/Microsoft deal because of patents that open source software supposedly infringes. However, once you buy in with Microsoft on one of these deals, it's a whole lot more.

    I discovered a few weeks ago that as part of the Novell deal, and Microsoft selling SLES coupons supposedly, SLES actually has to be a subserviant within a Windows domain controller set up. Ergo, SLES can quite easily be replaced with Windows at a later date without anyone being any the wiser. Presumably, when this deal runs out in five years Microsoft will have hoped that they'll have replaced all the SLES and Netware servers with Windows, replaced a lot of Red Hat servers with SLES replaced with Windows, and Novell will be no more.

    That deal Novell struck will do quite a bit of damage if any more like it are agreed.
    • You need to read up on Samba version 4. SLES (or any Linux) can be either an Active Directory client or a server. Linux can just as easily replace Windows servers without anyone being any the wiser. It works both ways.
  • by pieterh (196118) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:29PM (#19568149) Homepage
    ... divide the Linux community, starting with the smallest weakest firms. Build up a credible patent claim against Linux (where "credible" means "incredible but nonetheless believable if you are borderline insane, as many firms are"). Attack Red Hat, and avoid annoying IBM directly.

    Microsoft is doing a classic patent ambush on the Linux community, and it's significant. We're not seeing an attach on Linux, but on the Linux market. Microsoft wants to own the market.

    I'd be surprised if MS actually threatened any FOSS developers, and I'd expect eventually MS to start supporting some free software projects, and eventually even the GPL, if it does get its planned iron grip on the Linux market via its unnamed patents. Free software is so much cheaper to build than the classic kind. Eventually, MS will port its stack of patent-protected lock-in technologies to a BSD or Linux core.

    The weakness in Microsoft's armour is those unnamed patents. If they were to be named, they would be disarmed, and Microsoft's entire gambit would fail. In the US there is no need to detail a patent infringement claim. In Europe, Microsoft's claims come very close to illegal unfair competition; IIRC there is a clause in the European Patent Convention that says a claim of patent infringement must be backed by details of what patents are concerned.

    • I'd be surprised if MS actually threatened any FOSS developers

      And therein lies the bluff and the path to exploiting it. The vendors don't necessarily develop or own the copyrights on the code. The developers don't (usually) directly sell support contracts on the system. The vendors pay the developers, the developers produce for the vendors. But neither one is "touchable" by Microsoft. Microsoft wants to "touch" (read: take) the vendors' market. Microsoft knows they can't "touch" (read: sue) the developers f
  • by budword (680846) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:31PM (#19568171)
    I don't buy support myself, but I do quite a bit of small time consulting for individuals and a few small businesses, and I'll be recommending RedHat without reservation. Ubuntu and Mandriva also, for those without a need for a distro certified to work with Oracle or similar product. Vote with your wallet, when you can folks. Novell drank the cool aid, RedHat, Ubuntu, and Mandriva turned down millions simply to avoid pissing us off, time to reward them for it, when we can.
  • Its called........discovery.

    Its just like the Borg Tractor beam, the thing that stops you in your tracks while they scan you for weaknesses.

    Microsoft's lawyers are just now downing the protein shakes and raw beef, getting ready to be let out of their cages.

    I need to stock up on popcorn for this......

    $50M, and the best lawyers anywhere?

    I'm channeling Q asking Picard: "Do you really think you know what you are doing? They are relentless!"

    • by jedidiah (1196)
      ???

      Microsoft can't really sue anyone without putting their cards on the table. Even if
      they try to do discovery in a secretive way, someone more likely than not will spill
      the beans.

      At that point, triage can be done.
  • It's not too suprising, although Microsoft seem to have had a few victories recently these are very small. Who're Novell, Xandros and Linspire anyway? Small fry really (with the possible exception of Novell, who've been badly burnt by the whole experience). Also remember SCO managed to sell a few of its spurious 'licenses' [lwn.net] before IBM made mince meat of them in court. Their claims were even more daft than those made by Microsoft (remember copyright vs. patents).

    As Red Hat pointed out in their excellently t [youtube.com]

    • That video has several errors in it's facts:

      "Everything that can be invented has been invented."--Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents, 1899. This has been debunked as apocryphal by librarian Samuel Sass

      "640KB ought to be enough for anybody."--attributed to Bill Gates (Gates denies ever saying it, and no source has ever emerged)

      Source:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famous_last_words_(sa rcasm) [wikipedia.org]
  • by el cisne (135112) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:39PM (#19568303) Journal
    Well freeking finally; Someone at least managed to have a pair;
    A pair of cerebral lobes, of course, what were you thinking!!!
    Oh, THOSE cerebral lobes....never mind....I guess those would work also
  • by cyborg_zx (893396) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @03:07PM (#19568755)
    What utter FUD. One does not sue the users of patent infringing software - one sues the makers of it. I'd like to see Microsoft try and sue me for using Ubuntu in a country which doesn't even acknowledge software patents. What bollocks.
  • This just isn't very smart. A flat out denial of anything doesn't do much but solidify what people already know. Redhat, with it's size, popularity and user base could have leveraged a deal that protect all users of GPLed software from lawsuits by Microsoft over disputed IP if they didn't place the IP in the software and stopped distributing that software once it was discovered to violate anything.

    This could have done more to further open-source software and protect "users" then anything else. It would have
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Paying an extortion fee never helps, in fact implies guilt.

      When MS decides to let people know what those infringements are, then we can talk about terms.

      Quite frankly, I am surprised know one has told MS to put up or shut up. Take MS to court for slander/liable. If they got something, they will have to show the court. If they don't have anything, or don't want to show the court, then they can shut the hell up.
  • by petrus4 (213815) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @03:20PM (#19568913) Homepage Journal
    Red Hat are pretty much the oldest Linux company in existence of any reasonable size. When asked, they consistently make noises that very strongly suggest that they're aware that anyone who wants to in any way make money with Linux should consider themselves Stallman's bitch by default.

    As such, they're not going to sign agreements with Microsoft or do anything else which might upset the "community" of red eyed fanatics in any way. They know who their father is. ;)
  • by larryau (983008) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @04:44PM (#19570369)
    WOOT!

    Way to go Red Hat.

    Obviously someone was listening to the community. Way to step up Red Hat.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

Working...