Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Linux Business Microsoft

Microsoft Fracturing the Open-Source Community 299

Posted by kdawson
from the old-divide-and-conquer dept.
TechGeek sends us to eWeek, where Mark Shuttleworth is quoted to the effect that Microsoft has succeeded in fracturing the Linux and open-source community with its patent indemnity agreements. Quoting: "Microsoft's strategy was to drive a wedge into the open-source community and unsettle the marketplace, Shuttleworth said. He also took issue with the Redmond, Wash., software maker for not disclosing the 235 of its patents it claims are being violated by Linux and other open-source software. 'That's extortion and we should call it what it is,' he said." Shuttleworth added, "I don't think this will end well for the companies that slipped up and went down that road."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Fracturing the Open-Source Community

Comments Filter:
  • by obergfellja (947995) <obergfelljaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:53PM (#20145437)
    Dear Mr. Gates: Bring it. Your Loving - OSS Community
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Dude, bravery is being unafraid when it's reasonable to feel that way, but stupidity is being unafraid when it's prudent to have fear.

      I know which one you think you have, but I'm not sure if it's the same as what you're actually displaying.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:19PM (#20145815)

      Dear Mr. Goatse: Bring it. Your Loving - OSS Community


      No. Don't bring that anywhere near here.

      Oh, GATES. Whew! Nevermind.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:54PM (#20145447)
    Microsoft forked the Open Source Community. Motherforkers.
    • Re:In other words (Score:4, Interesting)

      by xappax (876447) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:12PM (#20145711)
      Yes, now who wants to join the new Free Source Community?
    • by WED Fan (911325) <akahige&trashmail,net> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @04:06PM (#20146505) Homepage Journal

      Honestly, the blame is not Microsoft's. It is the community. OSS under GPL3 is fast approaching the stance of the Catholic Church as recently expounded by the Pope. In otherwords, "its all or nothing", "you're either with us, or against us", and so forth.

      GPL2 was fine, the lessers are fine. But, brow beating projects into GPL3 is going to make the community rebel, and these people are all about rebellion.

      The split is not happening because of MS, it is because of RMS, all holiness to his name.

      • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @04:16PM (#20146649)
        I hope you won't mind if I say: BULLSHIT.

        Granted, GPLv3's been in the offing for some time. But I reckon so was the MS/Novell deal - these things don't happen overnight. Version 3 of the GPL actually has the potential to bring the OSS community closer together by making clear the issues surrounding things like software patents and preventing (or at least severely curatailing) similar deals.

        We should be grateful that the only major player to take the Microsoft pill was Novell - it would be far worse if Redhat and Canonical had as well.
        • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000 AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @06:59PM (#20149331)

          Granted, GPLv3's been in the offing for some time. But I reckon so was the MS/Novell deal - these things don't happen overnight. Version 3 of the GPL actually has the potential to bring the OSS community closer together by making clear the issues surrounding things like software patents and preventing (or at least severely curatailing) similar deals.

          How does GPLv3 bring people together? Many who've contributed to the Linux kernal as well as others have already said they won't move to it. They don't and OSS is fractured. Sure the bits and pieces that aren't moved can be replaced but the fact is is that by some not moving to v3 OSS is fractured.

          Falcon
        • by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @07:07PM (#20149433)
          Ummm. No you are wrong.

          Before there were people in the GPL 2 camp sure they argued inside on things but with GPL 3 my making the rules clear means people who were once in the GPL camp are now out. Thus causing fracturing. You are bringing a smaller group of people together at the expense of ostracizing others who don't agree with this view. It took a long time for companies to begin to warm up to the GPL, and began finding ways to use it and make profit off of it. Then RMS with his sometimes hypocritical usually Ultra Leftist views decides that companies are abusing the nature of open source (except for IBM who can't do no wrong... Who probably is a big supporter of the FOSS). Most of us doesn't care about what Microsoft and Novel is doing trading patents in exchange for mutual protection of each others patents are a normal thing that goes on. But GPL 3 is what worries people myself included because we feel that it is going into a direction that is to strict and removes to much freedom from the developer and the user as well. Because a lot of the time Users are Developers too.
          • by killjoe (766577) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:38PM (#20151941)
            You dumbass.

            GPL3 does not remove any freedom from the developer. The developer either chooses it or not.

            GPL3 does not remove any freedom from the user. The user is not subject to the GPL in any version. You are only subject to it if you modify the source code AND distribute it.

            With your stunning ignorance of the GPL on such proud display one wonders what kind of a dumbass modded your post up.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by bl8n8r (649187)
          > We should be grateful that the only major player to take the Microsoft pill was Novell

          Lets not forget Linspire and Xandros. No, not major, but let's give credit it's due.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by everphilski (877346)
        We need some Martin Luthers and John Calvins! Fork away!

        I am an everphilskiian! I do not believe in the divinity of RMS! Repent, relicense, or burn in hell! :)
      • by nmos (25822) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @05:07PM (#20147393)
        GPL2 was fine, the lessers are fine. But, brow beating projects into GPL3 is going to make the community rebel, and these people are all about rebellion.

        What exactly is wrong with the GPL3 and what makes you think anyone is "brow beating" anyone else into using it?

        There are always going a few people who thrive on argument and chaos but most of the people actually involved in the creation of the GPL3 have been pretty civil IMHO and I think that even includes RMS. Just look at how much the GPL3 has improved since the first draft based on input from just about anyone who cared enough to speak up.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by raitchison (734047)

          Disclaimer: IANAD (I am not a developer) but for better or for worse, GPL3 is more restrictive than GPL2 (it's designed to be). I think at the very least this will cause people to re-evaluate the licenses they release their code under, some will switch to GPL3, some will stay with GPL2 (removing the "or any later version" from the license notice) and still others will opt for an altogether different open source license.

          For a long time GPL has enjoyed it's position as the de-facto open source license, the

      • by Peaceful_Patriot (658116) <michelle.goldnuggetwebs@com> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:31PM (#20151427) Homepage
        ..The split is not happening because of MS, it is because of RMS, all holiness to his name.

        I disagree. I was unsure of GPLv3 for quite awhile. I read lots of articles and opinions on both sides. I really believe GPL3 and people like RMS, whether you love him or hate him, are important to the long-term survival of FOSS. I understand that people want Linux to be successful and right now we, as a community, are at a pivitol time. Linux has grown and matured and is now poised to claim a respectable percentage of the desktop market. These gains have come slowly and steadily, despite overwhelming odds and powerful enemies. This has happened because of the nature of free software and the GPL.

        I believe that we need 'radicals' like RMS in the Free Software Movement to protect against those who would advocate compromise in the name of short term gains, that will in the long run destroy it.

        I want FOSS to be around and giving MS sweats for years to come. I want to know that it will still be free, as in both beer and speech, for my kids to experiment with. Not negotiated into corporate mediocrity.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by babbling (952366)
        You need to watch this video [youtube.com] so that you can realise exactly how important the GPLv3 is for the Free Software community.

        I work on a couple of GPLv2 projects and can't wait to release them under GPLv3. No one is "brow beating" projects into going GPLv3, projects are going GPLv3 because it is the better license.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BytePusher (209961)
      Microforkers!
  • by fotbr (855184) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:57PM (#20145505) Journal
    Ubuntu will go on. SuSE will go on. Redhat will go on. Microsoft will go on.
    • by mulvane (692631) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:00PM (#20145549)
      What about SCO?
    • by ceeam (39911)
      Yeah, like there's no graveyard (or hall-of-fame if you like) of technology... Amiga, NeXT, etc... Myriad of Linux distros are really or virtually dead now too. It's just that we forget about it and move on. Ubuntu, SuSE, RedHat, and of course Microsoft don't have the magic shield against becoming obsolete too.
    • by krgallagher (743575) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:06PM (#20145633) Homepage
      "Ubuntu will go on. SuSE will go on. Redhat will go on. Microsoft will go on."

      I tend to agree. If the Linux community is worried about Microsoft trying to fracture them, the simple solution is to not attack each other for dealing with Microsoft.

      The Microsoft deal IMHO is a good one for Novel. Their target market is the enterprise. They know that Microsoft is not going to be driven from that market any time soon. Partnering with Microsoft to guarantee interoperability just makes it easier for a suit to decide it is OK to install Suse Linux. I think that anything that results in a greater installed base of any Linux distribution is a win for the Linux community. Ultimately it should lead to greater adoption and acceptance of Linux as a mainstream OS.

      • by mulvane (692631)
        That's a fairly good point. Most people are comfortable with windows at home because it was introduced to them at school and or work. If people use linux at work, they may find it easier to grab a copy of suse and then possibly another distro later. It could benefit the whole of the linux community in the long run. Likely, time will tell.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bladesjester (774793)
        I tend to agree. If the Linux community is worried about Microsoft trying to fracture them, the simple solution is to not attack each other for dealing with Microsoft.

        Pretty much. One of the major things that's actuall fracturing the open source community are the zealots out there that scream at people for using a solution other than theirs or, even worse, using anything (no matter what it is) that isn't open.

        Ironically, they tend to be the same people that say "copying music isn't stealing" but turn aroun
        • by Chosen Reject (842143) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @04:46PM (#20147125)
          I'm not a zealot by any stretch of the imagination, but copying music isn't stealing. How hard is it for people to add a new phrase to their vocabulary. It's called copyright infringement. It's illegal. It's against the law. It has been put on the law books as something that should not be done. It is NOT stealing. Perhaps those zealots are hypocritical when getting angry at copyright infringement when it is their copyright, perhaps there are more than one group of people on slashdot. But in either case, people who say such a thing are correct and you are wrong. Get over it.

          I don't copy music, nor do I download games, and I don't own any unpurchased-by-me movies either. I don't participate in copyright infringement, I don't condone it. I recognize that it is illegal and unlawful. But I also recognize that it is not stealing. It is copyright infringement.

          Do you realize that murder and manslaughter and aggravated assault are different?
          Do you realize that robbery and theft are different?
          Do you realize that trespassing, breaking and entering and burglary are different?

          If not, then I can understand that you don't know the difference between copyright infringement and stealing. But if you do understand the difference in all of those above, then why do you have such a hard time understanding that there is a difference between copyright infringement and stealing?

          I will say it one more time: Copyright infringement, while still an illegal and unlawful act (in jurisdictions where the copyright is held), is NOT stealing. They aren't the same crime. Both are crimes, but they are not the same crime.

          I hope that clears it up for you.
          • by vertinox (846076)
            Do you realize that murder and manslaughter and aggravated assault are different?
            Do you realize that robbery and theft are different?
            Do you realize that trespassing, breaking and entering and burglary are different?


            Bravo! Personally in my daily life, I don't care what words mean sometimes, but I realize if I was ever on the wrong end of a jury that I would help they would understand the difference.

            If you killed a kid who jumped out in front of you car by accident on the way home, would you rather be accused
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AArmadillo (660847)
            It depends on whether you are talking about the common definition of stealing or the legal definition of stealing. Legally, stealing, or rather theft, requires a deprevation of property, so downloading music is not stealing in a legal sense. However, stealing, as in the English word, is defined as "to appropriate (property, ideas, credit, words, etc.) without right or acknowledgment," or "to take without permission or right, esp. secretly or by force," based upon the dictionaries I have available to me.
      • by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel DOT hedblom AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @04:04PM (#20146479) Homepage Journal
        The deal with Microsoft is only beneficiary to MS. It also gives credit to the utter FUD that Linux infringes on a lot of Microsoft patents. Ofcourse Microsoft pays you a hefty sum to act like you use their patents. There is no self-goal of having Linux on as many computers as possible. The goal is to have a free open system where single vendors cant use you as a human umbrella stand. Nothing that takes away the freedom and independance is worth a couple of more users.

        A long time side-effect of Linux can be that it can force through enough standards so that a new OS can compete on level ground with Microsoft. That would be extremely bad for Microsoft and thats why they are so afraid. Once the lockin dissapears the biggest reason to use Microsofts products also vanish. There is a reason why Microsoft hates standards and its not because they dont work or is hard to implement.

        The only winner is Microsoft, they never do anything to be nice.

      • by xappax (876447)
        Linux gaining mainstream acceptance is a good thing because it means software freedom is gaining mainstream acceptance. A linux distro that is locked into a bunch of proprietary restrictions does not advance software freedom, so it's not really much of a gain for the broader open source community if such a distro were to gain a lot of ground.

        And furthermore, such a distro wouldn't have the broad support of the open source community, and therefore any success that it enjoyed would be more due to marketing
    • by Dogtanian (588974) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:45PM (#20146147) Homepage

      Ubuntu will go on. SuSE will go on. Redhat will go on. Microsoft will go on.
      And my heart will go on.
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:59PM (#20145533) Homepage Journal
    Extortion. That's what I've been saying all along.

    I think what the open source community needs is a patent troll. Hey, SCO's looking to get bought out about now, huh? Maybe with the help of our billionaire friend here and some help from IBM, we could buy SCO and then turn Microsoft's dog against it. That's right. Have SCO sue Microsoft for patent infringement. And, oh, yeah, didn't SCO make some little known Linux distro? Maybe we could taunt them into countersuing and they'd be forced to reveal at least some of those supposed '235 patents'.

    Unless it's all complete BS, like I've been saying all along...

  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:59PM (#20145537) Homepage Journal
    The Linux Community was quite capable of indulging in ridiculously petty schisms, flamewars, arguments and
    bickering before Microsoft got involved. Ever since someone noticed the GPL and BSD licenses were different, there's been 3000GW of heat produced by zealots and pragmatists alike (and almost no light).

    This is nothing new. Haven't you ever read debian-legal?
    • by HalAtWork (926717) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:17PM (#20145773)
      Yeah, that's all the people that are the most passionate about GNU/Linux so they're actually arguing that much because they care. What about all the people who just want to use the software, won't all that arguing put them off, and think of it as a negative reflection on the OSS development model? It's FUD to the outsiders, either way you look at it, and can't be brushed aside by everyone. Just because we know better doesn't mean everyone does. How do we show them what's right?
      • "What about all the people who just want to use the software, won't all that arguing put them off, and think of it as a negative reflection on the OSS development model?"

        If they just want to use the software, they should just go and use it. No point in reading trough flamewars.

        • See, the thing is that a lot of companies want to know that they can use software without reprecussions - ie they have a license for it, it won't affect anything that they may release (and, like it or not, a lot of places still think that if they make something with open tools that they might have to open it), that, if something goes wrong, there is someone they can contact, etc.

          Your average user (and often even your average developer) doesn't generally worry about that. Businesses are a whole other story.
    • Old FUD. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twitter (104583) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:24PM (#20145891) Homepage Journal

      The "petty schisms" are all silly and the free software world has gone from strength to strength anyway. Free software encourages people to fork and merge, so disagreements are really a strength because the good results are always picked back up.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:28PM (#20145935) Journal

      Haven't you ever read debian-legal?
      I've heard of it, but I've never read it because rumour has it they all use EMACS.
      • by Jason Earl (1894)

        I wish. Apparently vi users have taken over and as part of their perniciously evil plot have decided that the documentation for Emacs (which you almost certainly need if you are going to actually use Emacs) is classified as non-free. What's worse now I get an email from "Virtual RMS" warning me about the dangers of documentation written by the real RMS under a license created by RMS.

        That's pretty much where I draw the line. If licenses written and approved by RMS are not Free enough for you then we nee

        • by makomk (752139)
          The thing, the license in question (the GFDL) is fairly nasty. It has all sorts of complicated restrictions - the section of conditions for distributing modified works reaches the letter M, and has fun stuff like having to retitle the work to something different from all the previous titles and preserve any acknowlegements, dedications, previous titles, previous front/back cover texts, etc. It also has a provision for so-called "invariant sections", which cannot be modified or removed. Basically, it's just
    • The Linux Community was quite capable of indulging in ridiculously petty schisms, flamewars, arguments and bickering before Microsoft got involved.

      Agreed- and after skimming the entire article, I couldn't find any assertions as to what the supposed split is (does he really think that *anyone* cares except some gullible executives?), what projects it has negatively affected, and so on. No claims about X% of corporations going back to Windows/Solaris/MacOS X, nothing.

      It's Shuttleworth simply running of

  • Capitolism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JeremyGNJ (1102465)

    I generally think that the open-source community does this fine without anyone's help. Microsoft saw the opportunity to use it's weakness and exploited it.

    Welcome to capitolism.
  • Lesson Learned (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fishthegeek (943099) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:59PM (#20145541) Journal
    All I know to say is that when Dr. Faust made his deal with the devil it didn't work out well for him either. Faust [wikipedia.org]
  • "Succeeded"? (Score:5, Informative)

    by phliar (87116) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:02PM (#20145579) Homepage
    From the article:

    ...what Microsoft is doing is trying to unsettle the marketplace. It isn't working and has not had the slightest impact on those companies that refuse to be drawn into that line of discussion with Microsoft.
    Seems to me Shuttleworth is saying the exact opposite of what this Slashdot editor thinks.
    • by twitter (104583)

      Seems to me Shuttleworth is saying the exact opposite of what this Slashdot editor thinks.

      Now, now. EWeek is reporting a success, despite what the expert they asked told them. If Slashdot reported it the other way, people would be screaming that EWeek said no such thing. He does believe that Novel has been harmed:

      Developers have been abandoning Novell ever since they did the deal with Microsoft, and they have gone to Oracle and Google among others. That's unfortunate for Novell, but was a fairly pre

  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Z00L00K (682162) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:06PM (#20145635) Homepage
    If you see a threat that you can't resolve by the usual business means then you have to seed confusion to dilute the threat. One must recognize that Microsoft is threatened by the open source community, and that they see that many OSS solutions of today are close to their solutions in functionality.

    One problem that the OSS community suffers from is that there are many licensing forms, and that some are in conflict with what's suitable for some end-users. It is also a challenge to make money from OSS solutions unless you have a good model available. And there are a large number of OSS projects that are sponsored in one way or another.

    Anyway - one must recognize that the view of having source code as a valuable asset is about to decay. The source code is just a tool - like a hammer or a screwdriver - that allows users to manage their information. The code in itself is useful to some extent, but the knowledge of how to use it us far more important - and here it's possible to make money even in the future.

    • by Shotgun (30919)
      Huh?

      And guns are just tools, but if your going to take over a country and subjugate the populace, you might want to see what you can do about making sure the people don't have any. The source code is the one and only tool that can guarantee that users will be able to retain control of their systems.

    • One must recognize that Microsoft is threatened by the open source community, and that they see that many OSS solutions of today are close to their solutions in functionality.

      I recognize no such thing. That claim has been made here for 10 years now, and it is no more true today than it was then.

      Until I see some significant market share gains by OSS (I'll use desktop Linux as the benchmark), at the expense of Microsoft, then I will remain unconvinced of the threat posed by OSS.
      • Re:Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @04:51PM (#20147183) Journal

        Until I see some significant market share gains by OSS (I'll use desktop Linux as the benchmark), at the expense of Microsoft, then I will remain unconvinced of the threat posed by OSS.
        Why is the desktop the only metric? Why not Samba, OpenOffice, OpenDocument, Mono, open groupware servers and similar projects aand standards?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dan Ost (415913)
        The computing world is bigger than the desktop market.

        In fact, the desktop market is the only computing market where Linux isn't a major player. Linux is well established in every other market I can think of (servers, mainframe, supercomputing, embedded, etc).

        If "Linux on Servers" had been your benchmark, you would have recognized the threat to MS several years ago. Everybody else did.
  • fracturing? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wwmedia (950346)
    yea? this is a "community" that argues over everything as it is, just look at all the "fractures" over KDE vs. Gnome...

  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:10PM (#20145687)
    Check out last year's comment [slashdot.org] I made on the subject. The whole thing was done just to make us have arguments. Can we learn from history, so as not to repeat it?

    Divide and conquer is an age old tactic. Open Source is meant to help us divide and yet still cooperate to use our separate works together, but MS is trying to get us to divide and argue amongst each other so that we no longer cooperate but stand divided on what MS is trying to make into an issue. Come on guys, MS walks in, saying "OK, half you guys get over here, and half you guys get over there because we say so. Hey hey hey, ubuntu guys, check out the way those Novell guys are looking at you...." etc. And it's like we're falling for it.

    It all boils down to the fact that the software is not "under" any kind of agreement except the GNU GPL. We all know the patents are crap otherwise they would be disclosed. We all know patents do not even matter, otherwise MS (and any others who would want to squeeze GNU/Linux for some cash) would have made their move by now. All they're doing is prodding us and watching which way we squirm. Why should we squirm? Just get back to using FLOSS, nothing's changed. Except that maybe we're a lot bigger now and they're more scared.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MagicBox (576175)
      So Microsoft is now accountable for open source projects/companies/undertakings going south/not getting along/going different directions? C'mon man, how much longer are these guys going to blame every little problem on someone else? Welcome to the real world. Stop putting blame. It only makes you look desperate, dumb and like a loser.
  • And has been for quite a while. Shops I know of who are not already utilizing Open Source are moving there as quickly as possible. Management realizes the value of having some control over the code is a good thing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by baggins2001 (697667)
      It's not just that the code is available to the group using it. It's also that the code is out there and if XYZ quits working or supporting it maybe someone else will.
      My CEO was shocked when I told him that the accounting software was no longer supported by the original company. But we found some guys who used to work for the company and they'll come here and help us fix the problem. You just have to pay airfare, lodging and $200/hr.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:17PM (#20145775)
    Psh. Please...

    KDE v GNOME
    vi v emacs
    Linux v BSD
    Qt v gtk v tcl/tk v Swing v raw X calls
    O(1) scheduler v Completely Fair Scheduler
    GPLv2 v GPLv3 v BSD license
    stuffing v potatoes

    Like the open-source world needs help in becoming fractured. We're perfectly good at doing that ourselves, thank you very much.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ChefInnocent (667809)
      That's because people are idiots. Here's the correct choices:

      KDE
      emacs
      BSD
      gtk
      O(1) scheduler
      BSD license
      potatoes ;)
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by sjaskow (143707)
        I'd really like links to your version of KDE that uses GTK instead of the QT libraries.
    • By your list, I take it you seem to think there should only be one product per software group. I'll grant you the ongoing, never-ending Gnome vs. KDE war is probably the most typical, but as to GPLv2 vs. GPLv3, that's more of a meta-war.
  • by pieterh (196118) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:19PM (#20145803) Homepage
    Microsoft are doing what they do best, divide and conquer, with FUD and money. The good news is that by attacking the open source community, they have shifted into "FIGHT" phase (ignore, mock, fight, lose, as Gandhi said). Microsoft will not win, for the simple reason that the open source community is unlike any business they have crushed before.

    We can't be divided, we are already utterly fragmented and internecine. Our strength is that we can never be absorbed; once open (and especially if GPLd) the code can never be killed.

    Microsoft will try, and try, and try to divide the FOSS community, and each time they'll just make it stronger. Eventually the attempts will change Microsoft; the only real way it can fight and beat FOSS is to become FOSS.

    Nothing Microsoft can do, no amount of money, patent blackmail, FUD, ISO corruption and bribery, not even murder and assassination, can stop the Community, because FOSS is not a business, it is a better technology, and like MSN/1.0 in 1995, where Microsoft thought, "let's beat the Internet by making our own private network", you cannot fight better technology. You use it, or your competitors do, and either way it survives.

    Of course, in the meantime, Microsoft can and will cause a lot of pain and damage and destroy many careers and corrupt many officials, and mis-educate millions of young people. It's very sad. But in the long term, makes no difference.
  • cowards (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MICROSUX555 (1139539)
    I will say this, all the companies that did this agreement will end up broke. I got so mad over linspire's agreement with microsoft. I then switched to Ubuntu. I just cant trust them to not compromise my system. why the didnt they learn from sco
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by smist08 (1059006)
      Linspire is already un-ravelling. Saw the announcement just today that the CEO Carmody "resigned". I guess we can all speculate why he was "resigned", but it seems pretty clear.
  • We call this game "See What You Made Me Do". It's no more convincing from Shuttleworth than it is from my nine-year-old grandson.
    • by petrus4 (213815)
      We call this game "See What You Made Me Do". It's no more convincing from Shuttleworth than it is from my nine-year-old grandson.

      Yeah, except maybe both Shuttleworth and said nine year old know something you don't, gramps. It's true, and nothing proves it more than the release of GPLv3. Mainstream Linux has been the victim of assisted suicide. It was already looking to hang itself, and Microsoft, charitable souls that they are, provided the rope.
  • Open Source is the community. As long as the game is on our field, Mr. Gates does not stand a chance. Let him pull the game on to his field, and he will have a chance at winning. Don't fall for it folks! Stand together, and we will defeat the evil empire.
  • ..they were already fractured. Microsoft just gave them enough rope to hang themselves with. If you're going to compete with Microsoft, you had better bring your A game.
    • by Todd Knarr (15451)

      You also better know what game you're supposed to be playing. This is Microsoft's big problem. The best football game in the world won't help you at a tennis match.

      "That's a really great, uncounterable move... for chess. Pity we're playing checkers. *tak* *tak* *tak* King me."

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:43PM (#20146123)
    Microsoft has not, cannot, and hasn't the political will to take on the Linux community directly.

    Many people have told them directly, and in no uncertain terms, so sue me. The principal of estoppel says that Microsoft will get into hot water unlike any it has ever known should it open the pandora's box of patent litigation against the F/OSS community.

    Shuttleworth dances with the devil. No wonder he's hot under the collar.

    Linux isn't fractured. Linux isn't hurt. Linux development and FOSS will naturally evolve. It grows stronger. It is principled, where Microsoft certainly is specifically interested solely in shareholder return. Let's see, Linux has been successfully sued how many times? How many countries has busted Linux for restraint of trade and so on? How many attorney generals have sued Linux? Now show me the assets Microsoft gets by suing Linux. There is no Linux; there are multiple OS kernels, and a freighter full of GNU and GPL's apps. There are no assets. There ARE NO VIOLATORS. The lineage of what Linux has become has been more than adequately outlined in multiple different litigations by multiple reference-able authors.

    That's why the SCO-IBM litigation farce was underwritten by Microsoft (and others) and why it's so flimsy. Shuttleworth needs to re-examine his motives. Certainly a corp as large as Micorosft can make anyone quake. So can several quarters of very negative revenues make Microsoft change its tune.
  • by Qubit (100461) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:44PM (#20146141) Homepage Journal
    Before Microsoft tried the whole "patent indemnification" trick the community was less cohesive about these important issues to Free Software.

    Now, after MS has made patent agreements with several companies, GPLv3 has been released, and several companies have explicitly REFUSED to sign such patent agreements with MS, the community is more cohesive -- more understanding of the importance of Free Software and in agreement that signing such patent indemnification agreements with Microsoft is a Bad Idea(tm).

    As the dust settles, there are splits: Novell sits alongside Microsoft. Alongside the FSF we see Redhat, Ubuntu, Debian, and many others.

    I'm excited that major vendors such as Dell and Lenovo are offering GNU/Linux pre-installed on their machines. By supporting such vendors, the Free Software community can show them that a strong demand for GNU/Linux exists. Unfortunately Lenovo will be pre-installing SuSE (from Novell) on their machines, and I encourage all of you geeks out there to WRITE to Lenovo and request that instead of SuSE they pre-install a distribution that respects Free Software such as Redhat or Ubuntu. Similarly, write to Dell and tell them that you STRONGLY appreciate the fact that they chose Ubuntu as their GNU/Linux distribution.

    So to sum it up:
    Keep on using the software, spend your money in support of these companies, and preach the good word of Free Software.
    Peace. Love. Linux.
  • Something about Microsoft's pronouncements that Linux developers (or even users) are violating intellectual property rights, brings up the issue of slander, (or libel). If they are saying we're all crooks, they should prove it in a court of law, or keep their mouths shut.
  • Predictable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petrus4 (213815) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @04:57PM (#20147251) Homepage Journal
    It makes sense that Microsoft would try to turn the fractious and already divisive nature of at least the older elements of Linux's userbase against itself. It isn't as though such an activity would be terribly difficult, either.

    This is another part of the reason why I view the Linux "community" as such a toxic, virulent sociological sickness. It's because things like this effort on Microsoft's part demonstrate that, while Linux advocates can talk about the community valuing unity to the degree that they do, that's all such talk is; talk. Linux users are a lot quicker to shun each other for imagined violations of Stallmanite philosophy than they are to genuinely stand together against a common enemy. This is easy for Microsoft to see, and in conflict, it is customary to attempt to capitalise on the enemy's weakness. Sun Tzu also wrote that one of the most important things in war is to divide the enemy wherever possible, and to prevent the enemy from forming alliances with anyone.

    Microsoft signs one of these agreements with Novell or whoever else, and it wins in two ways. It wins by potentially driving said company out of business, because of said company no longer being able to sell its' distribution, and it also wins by making sure that members of the community are too busy fighting each other to be able to do anything else, because of splits between those who still want to keep using said companies' distros and those who think it is wrong to do so. So they can sign these agreements, and then merely stand back to observe the fireworks. You yourselves do the rest.

    The only time I'm ever going to see the Linux community as being a good thing is when said community genuinely starts behaving like one. That means getting some basic maturity. It also means that if someone is doing what you believe is the wrong thing, that rather than shunning that person at the first sign of infraction, you instead at least initially attempt to talk to the person about what it is that they're doing, and also that in such situations you also check your own assumptions. Most importantly, the howling, red eyed zealotry needs to go.

    Want to start beating Microsoft, Linux users? Stop thinking and acting like religious fanatics, and in general, grow the hell up. Right now, you're being played like a violin, and if you want that to continue, just keep doing more of the same.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by miffo.swe (547642)
      Since the Linux community already is more splitted and diversified than any other community i would say its nearly impossible to split it up any more than it is today. Its also questionable as to what effect it would have thanks to the GPL licensed code. At most it can kill a sales channel like Novell or Linspire. The "product" itself and the development efforts lives on like never before and any company can pick up with very little investment involved. You talking about the Linux community as a coherent g
  • by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @05:58PM (#20148431) Journal


    When I read this article on /.. it was accompanied by an advert from our friends at Novell

    "SuSE, it's your Linux"

    Which is pretty ironic really. I mean if it was our Linux we would never have let them deal with the devil like they did.

    This ad shows that they really are concerned about the fallout from their pact with MS
  • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @06:59PM (#20149335)
    Microsoft may be screwed, big time. If they really do have IP tht has been violated and haven't acted to defend it by now, they risk exposure to lawsuits by the shareholders (the people who actually DO own this IP). See this [wikipedia.org] for the consequences of delay. If, on the other hand, its all a bluff, then they risk being charged with making fraudulent claims.
  • by Torodung (31985) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @08:36PM (#20150437) Journal
    The first sentence of the article:

    Microsoft has succeeded in fracturing the Linux and open-source community with the patent indemnity agreements it has entered into with several prominent vendors, Ubuntu leader and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth told eWEEK.
    Followed by Shuttleworth later directly quoted (in the same article!) as saying:

    "I think it's obvious at this stage that really what Microsoft is doing is trying to unsettle the marketplace. It isn't working and has not had the slightest impact on those companies that refuse to be drawn into that line of discussion with Microsoft."
    Equals near to direct contradiction, folks.

    How eWeek's Peter Galli managed to divine that "Microsoft has succeeded in fracturing the Linux... community" from Shuttleworth's clear refutation that "Microsoft is trying to unsettle the marketplace. It isn't working..." is beyond me.

    This dubious claim of Galli's is one of the clearest cases of "white is black" reporting I've seen in a while. Shuttleworth clearly, from his own statements, does not agree with the concept that the community is "fractured." At best, he believes that a few insignificant vendors have been "drawn into [negotiations with MS and] have paid a significant price."

    I would say, from his clear, concise statements, that he sees the whole, sordid event as "extortion," and a crucible that has purified the community, rather than "fractured."

    Read Shuttleworth's statements (in TFA) and see if you don't agree that Peter Galli is either a) a poor reporter who made a gross mischaracterization or b) has a strong agenda and preconceptions and can't even tell white from black in his zeal to follow them.

    --
    Toro

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

Working...