Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Microsoft Linux Business

Turbolinux Is Latest To Sign Microsoft Pact 180

mytrip sends word that Turbolinux has followed Novell, Linspire, and Xandros in signing a patent and technology agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft pledged not to sue Turbolinux's users for patent infringement. Turbolinux, headquartered in Japan, sells Linux systems mostly in emerging markets such as China and India. The Betanews story speculates on some of the technology benefits Turbolinux might get out of the deal.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Turbolinux Is Latest To Sign Microsoft Pact

Comments Filter:
  • Double dammit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:43PM (#21091873)
    Could it be? Could Turbolinux users be getting transparent title bars on their windows? That would be FANTASTIC!
  • huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:43PM (#21091883) Homepage

    Microsoft pledged not to sue Turbolinux's users
    Turbolinux has users?
    • They should be made to run around in fundoshi for 3 weeks, apologize, and bathe in squid oil for 2 weeks. I don't suppose other parts of Asia will welcome this threat to a unified Asian Linux distro. This is just (obscene) (Why the hell cannot )
    • Turbolinux has users?

      its not as quick off the line as SuperLinux and you do have to keep your CPU running a few extra minutes after you're done computing for the day (they make timers to help with that).

      check your drives every 12,000 I/O's and it should run fine for years.
    • I get the feeling that I am not the only one who has noticed that, after Novell, Microsoft hasn't really been able to sign a deal with a major player in the Linux world. Actually, every time I hear a Microsoft deal, I jump back in shock, shock that the other company in the deal still exists. Linspire? Xandros? Turbolinux? These are names that I know, but hadn't heard much about for a long time. I guess it's not a good sign on Microsoft's part that only forgotten companies are willing to sign the pact.
      • I don't see anything in the article about Microsoft paying to "share" their "technology".

        But I'm sure that is what happened.

        Anyone have any other references? It appears that Microsoft is buying up the lesser Linux distributions.
        • So if I start up a small distro, get paid, and my distro seems to start losing interest... can Microsoft as for it's money back? ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by awrowe ( 1110817 )
        Problem is, the more small players who sign up to this sort of thing, the harder it is to refute claims made in court. If you add up all the users of these 'small'distro's' what sort of percentage are we looking at of total linux users? Even more pertinent perhaps, is that if lots of these tiddlers signed up and a Microsoft sock puppet decided to go to the courts citing '359 distributions have signed our agreement but these five or six recalcitrant organisations think they are too big to worry about the law
        • by Dan Ost ( 415913 )
          This type of deal doesn't set legal precedent.

          If it did, then companies could create sock puppet companies who license their IP to "prove" that a patent is valid. Doesn't carry any weight at all.
    • Re:huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by muyuubyou ( 621373 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @06:24PM (#21092409)
      They have some, mostly in Japan. I've bought Turbolinux in the past, but I swear I never will after this move.
    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pluther ( 647209 ) <`ten.asu' `ta' `rehtulp'> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @06:55PM (#21092777) Homepage

      Turbolinux has users?


    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Ep0xi ( 1093943 )
      Sorry to tell you, but TurboLinux is the most reliable linux on earth. After Mr Volker's Slackware with lots of twisting and turnings-
      Probably, related to my new job, TurboLinux will have the best Open Sourced, Freewared .NET server.
    • by Duhavid ( 677874 )
      No, they dont. Which makes this agreement very curious.
  • by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:44PM (#21091895) Homepage
    The article refers to a cross-licensing agreement with intent to use some technology - it doesn't say anything about not suing customers, although presumably that could be part of the deal and not mentioned here.
    • it doesn't say anything about not suing customers

      Even if there were guarantees to not sue Turbolinux customers, its moot []. Microsoft can't stop patent trolls from filing lawsuits against linux distrubutors or users, and in fact it appears [] Microsoft will be using patent trolls as a proxy to fight off competition underhandedly rather than face a competitor on technical merit. A good reference for this unethical, and possibly illegal, tactic is the Microsoft-Baystar-SCO [] link in the now thoroughly debunked SCO v

  • Money ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:44PM (#21091897) Homepage
    Yeah but did they get money out of the deal ? Back then, Novell got Microsoft to invest some money in the development of cross-compatibility software (in short : Novell payed some cash to MS for patents, and MS in return gave huge wads of cash to Novell for development)

    Is this the case tody with TurboLinux ?
  • by Dice ( 109560 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:49PM (#21091961)
    And here I was thinking that Turbolinux died years ago. Last time I remember hearing about them is back in '99 or '00.

    Maybe they just died on the inside.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by slack_prad ( 942084 )
      Looks like they went underground [] in 2002 (offering no free ISO download). Now they've resurfaced.
      The Turbolinux 10 Desktop now costs 29$ []
      • From the distrowatch link parent cites ... "Turbolinux 7 Server also supports the Large File Support (LFS) standard for working with applications that manage or handle up to four terabytes of data "

        All the modern distros can have maximum file sizes larger than that ... old chart ... []. And then you have these totally insane file size limits [] ... Petabyte and exabite file sizes ....

        Turbo linux? They lost their cachet around the time that PC makers stopped putting turbo buttons on computers.

        • Turbo linux? They lost their cachet around the time that PC makers stopped putting turbo buttons on computers.

          Ah yes, the King's Quest button, I think they took those out because King's Quest became unpopular.

          I don't think that there's anyway that a credible Linux distro is going to sign one of these deals. There is no information whatsoever as to what "patents" are being infringed upon. One can only venture a guess that they are nonexistent, invalid or easy to remove. I can't see any other reason why MS hasn't disclosed which patents are being infringed upon.

  • Queen (Score:4, Funny)

    by businessnerd ( 1009815 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:49PM (#21091963)
    There's a Queen song that comes to mind...
  • by Araxen ( 561411 )
    On Linux distro's that I'll never install or support.
    • My list keeps growing... On Linux distro's that I'll never install or support.
      You're looking at this all wrong! Download TurboLinux. Install it at all your customers (on some old 486 machine in the storage closet). Then tell them that they may violate any Microsoft patents that they want.

      "Microsoft pledged not to sue Turbolinux's users for patent infringement."

      (I should mention that I ANAL thing...)

    • by Tarlus ( 1000874 )
  • who?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dartmongrel ( 855947 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:56PM (#21092067)
    yup, yet another insignificant distro took some bucks to be the latest FUD. Well done M$FT, I'm so scared that I'm formatting my drive right now to reinstall XP. /sarcasm Wake me up if a real distro like Red Hat Debian or Slackware SELL OUT, at which point I will simply start using OpenBSD on my desktop in addition to my server. This is FUD FUD FUD FUD FUD!
    • Debian won't ever go under, no matter if it becomes illegal to run a Linux distro. They'd just pull all their US servers, and I'd change a few lines in sources.lst. Problem solved. I assume Slackware would do something similar.

      Red Hat might have problems if Ballmer makes good on his threats as they are based in the US.

      And if worse comes to worse, then you always have a *BSD as you noted. There is really nothing to worry about as far as home users are concerned.
    • Re:who?? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Tarlus ( 1000874 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @07:09PM (#21092983)

      ...a real distro like Red Hat Debian...
      God, I hope that never happens.
    • by BokLM ( 550487 ) *
      Mandriva said it will not sign that deal with Microsoft : []
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sconeu ( 64226 )
        Which leaves Mandriva as the only UnitedLinux member who won't.
        • SuSE => Novell. Signed.
        • Caldera... Well, technically they haven't joined the covenant, but we all know what their turned out to be
        • TurboLinux. Signed
        • Connectiva. Merged with Mandrake to form Mandriva. Won't sign.

        • by sconeu ( 64226 )
          I hate self-replies, but the typo...

          Caldera ... their business model turned out to be
  • Tiny Trend (Score:3, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:57PM (#21092091)
    So, other than Novell, many of the "tiny" Linuxes (those with the least user base), seem interested in trying to attach their wagons to the Microsoft train.

    I, for one, am not all THAT surprised, but neither all that concerned, either. The message from the other LARGER Linux distros like Redhat, Canonical, and Mandriva, have all have a clear message: ***NO*** If one of those were to fall for it, I would be VERY concerned.

    Show us the infringing patents, Microsoft.... we are still waiting...
  • Is this really bad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by prelelat ( 201821 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @06:02PM (#21092139)
    Don't companies all of the time say hey I won't sue you if you don't sue me? If Microsoft has so much on Linux as far as software patents go then I would think they would sue instead signing non aggression agreements. I think Microsoft might have some things that Linux could say they hold a patent on. Maybe this is a good thing for Linux as they don't have to worry about going to court for 10 years with their clients and developers wondering what will happen if Microsoft gets the upper hand. Even if it was something developers could change easily it's nice to know you won't be going to court because something is similar enough to a patent Microsoft owns. I can see why they would go and do this, though I do think it's almost like signing a deal with the devil. I hope distros like Red Hat and such don't do it personally.

    I don't know much about it so if I'm wrong could you please explain to me how this is bad?
    • I don't know much about it so if I'm wrong could you please explain to me how this is bad?

      I haven't been following this too closely, due to lack of interest in MS or companies that get in bed with them. Debian and Ubuntu will still be there, and they're the best distros anyway. But, I'd say: ...because Microsoft are basically trying to set themselves up as a tax-taker on Linux. Because every time someone buys Linux from such organisations, MS will make a little in cash and/or profit. They're realising th

      • Yes, I didn't understand that they would be taking a share of the profits I thought it was a one time thing. Like you said Debian and Ubuntu are the best in my opinion as well.
  • by MrSteveSD ( 801820 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @06:02PM (#21092149)
    [Capo di tutti capi, Steve Ballmer] - "That's a nice set of users ya got there. Shame if anything were to happen to 'em. I'm a reasonable Mafia don though, I just want to 'Wet my beak' as they say."
  • by turnipsatemybaby ( 648996 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @06:11PM (#21092247)
    It seems to me that, with the exception of Novell, the distros signing up for this thing are all small-time distros with relatively small user bases.

    I can't grok what Novell could possibly have been thinking, but it would make sense for the less popular distros to align with microsoft as they instantly become newsworthy and generate more interest.

    Has there *ever* been a slashdot story on TurboLinux prior to this? If there was it certainly wasn't recently.
    • Has there *ever* been a slashdot story on TurboLinux prior to this? If there was it certainly wasn't recently.
      Rejoice! I have the answer you seek! []
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mc moss ( 1163007 )
      Ok, I'm a complete noob when it comes to Linux and open sourse. How can microsoft sue people who are using open source software? I thought the whole point is that the community works on it together or something to continually make it better and distribute for free among themselves.
      • Microsoft is claiming to have patents on ideas which software included in Linux distros use, and therefore claims to have a patent infringement case. The general consenus on /. seems to be that Microsoft is lying partially because they refuse to actually specify what their patent claims are.
    • Yes there has []
    • by Alioth ( 221270 )
      Slashdot even has a Turbolinux icon for stories (they didn't use for this one). Not even Ubuntu has a Slashdot icon.
  • Is MS's threats liable or slander? It seems that they always throw around that "we'll protect our Intellectual Property..." line a lot, but no one seems to have a clue what their talking about. As far as I know, making unsubstantiated claims like that for the purpose of scaring corporations away from Linux is illegal (called liable or slander I think). It's akin to "Brand X" claiming "Brand Y kills a puppy every time you use their product", when they don't. Can someone shed some light on this issue? Do
    • "It seems that they always throw around that "we'll protect our Intellectual Property..." line a lot, but no one seems to have a clue what their talking about. "

      They are "protecting their intellectual property". Their intellectual property consists of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Ask anyone who's using Windows and is afraid of the forced downgrade to Vista on their next purchase ...

      Oh, you meant like in software? Nothing to see there ...

    • by jellie ( 949898 )
      No, I don't think Microsoft is guilty of libel or slander. To me, it's more of a tactic to make certain claims but hide behind their ambiguity so as to avoid having to substantiate those claims. I think of it as akin to the White House's argument: "you're guilty of being a threat to national security, but we can't prove it because providing the evidence will violate national security. So we win." It ridiculous, but you don't have to make sense when you're the one in power.

      Microsoft and all large companies (
    • I believe the last story we had on MS FUD came back to "Balmer said it in the UK, so it can't be a US crime".

      I'd imagine that MS are doing just enough to stay out of that country. If Linux didn't have the support of IBM then I'd imagine it would be a different story. They would then just say what they like on the assumption that the Linux userbase couldn't mount a significant challenge.
  • Pat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by turgid ( 580780 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @06:26PM (#21092441) Journal

    When Pat sells out, the fat lady will be singing. Not before.

    Until then, get busy living.

  • Microsoft has created shill company that collects patents and sues. So, even though Microsoft hasn't sued Novell it's shill company did. How's that for a pact?
  • Repeat quickly MS Turbolinux, MS Turbolinux, MS Turbolinux, MS Turbolinux...

    Well okay, it's funnier in Spanish or Italian.
  • I believe I downloaded them a few years ago and they were just horrific so I tossed the CD. Turbolinux is apparently at position 75 on We can watch it drop quickly.

    What they are doing is taking the infusion of cash to make a quick profit for the founders and they don't care if Turbolinux itself dies.

    Of course no one really believes Turbolinux has any patents or other intellectual property to deal with so one must ask how they got Microsoft to agree. One must conclude that Microsoft is d
  • by unity100 ( 970058 )
    1 - Linux does not infringe upon anything microsoft. Even if it did, if microsoft brought any lawsuit on the matter, the capital behind linux defense would be so immense due to big corps and foundations and even governments giving a shoulder to it that, it would eventually end up like sco case.

    2 - Microsoft vs linux is a lost case for microsoft in europe. Eu favors linux, loves it, encourages it from underhand. Eu dislikes microsoft practices. (evident from latest rulings) And even some governments in eu
    • If linux had come under such an attack, and a foundation makes an announcement for need of donations to an emergency linux defense fund, there are SO many developers, webmasters, communities that would put the donation buttons on their sites and garner SO many donations that, the amount they could gather up would make microsoft's yearly revenues look ridiculous. with that kind of funds, an entire senate can be bought. therefore i dont see anything to scare away from linux.
    • I think Japan is moving to OSS (if not FOSS) as well. []
      I seem to remember something else from Japan that Microsoft might find.... interesting. []
  • Novell signed the pact and a lot of good that did, Microsoft has sued Novell anyway. Do not deal with the devil, it may seem tempting but in the end you will regret it.
  • Doesn't Microsoft usually end up paying out with these things? My proposition:

    1. Download Ubuntu LiveCD.
    2. Change name and graphics
    3. Buy cheap hosting
    4. Upload newly renamed live CD to cheap hosting and make world readable
    5. Email Microsoft, stating you've finally come around to their point of view, and are ready to sign a pact
    6. Profit!!!

    I'm not saying Microsoft is right, but I wouldn't mind making a few bucks helping them be wrong.

  • This could be construed as OT, but I find the timing of this little event [] to be very suspicious.

    Not only with the long term Microsoft execs heading there this month, but more importantly in relation to the SCO case. These guys sued almost directly after the SCO issue fell through. It's the sort of timing you would expect if an entity behind the scenes were switching to "plan b".
  • Who? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Who is turbolinux again? Oh, and btw, they can kiss any gpl3 stuff goodbye now. And unlike novell, i seriously doubt they have the resources to fork it themselves.
  • I'm terribly curious what Turbolinux thinks that Microsoft thinks it is getting out of the deal.

    They call it a "cross-licensing of the two companies' patent portfolios." What kind of patent portfolio can Turbolinux possibly have, and how could it possibly be a threat to Microsoft? A related question would be whether you can call it a patent portfolio if you have less than two patents.

    Assuming (and I think this would be a reasonable assumption) that Microsoft would feel exactly zero threat from Turbolinux'

  • Business plan:

    1. Create a new Linux Distro or resurrect a old one.
    2. Strike a deal with Microsoft to not get sued by them.
    3. Profit.

    The new distro name: Sellout Linux.
  • You look positively idiotic.


  • by dpastern ( 1077461 )
    None of these distros have any real percentage of users. Turbolinux has been all but dead for a long while. Novell Linux is a joke, but then, so is Novell. Linspire, no better. Xandros, no better either. Just ignore them, don't buy their shit, oops, I mean distributions. Again, this is why the Linux kernel MUST be moved to GPL v3. This would cut this patent bullshit from Microsoft out, or at least force these parasites to bloody well fucking fork their own kernels under a GPL v2 release.

    Linus is a st
  • The last I used of turbolinux was back when the pre-release testing was going on, and I went through some of the early alpha releases. I helped the guy do some testing with it for some time and made some suggestions, he was just a one man show back then I believe. Later he sent me the first couple official releases so I checked them out, then I went back to using slackware/suse for my servers/desktops. I figured it went the way of stampede and other less popular releases.
  • That's way below the threshold of distros that most linux users have even heard of.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"