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Casio Paying Microsoft To Use Linux 262

theodp writes "Will Tux be a rainmaker for Microsoft? GeekWire reports that Microsoft has struck a deal with Casio to provide Casio's customers with coverage for their use of Linux in Casio devices. The agreement, which calls for Microsoft to receive payments of an undisclosed amount, is an implicit acknowledgment of Microsoft's longstanding claims that Linux violates its patents, an assertion that members of the open-source community have long disputed."
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Casio Paying Microsoft To Use Linux

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  • A good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drolli ( 522659 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:41PM (#37461682) Journal

    i translates to:

    we dont use linux because its free of cost but because we believe it does a better job in the areas not protected by microsoft patents than microsoft os and believe a little overpaying in these areas is good for our customers.

  • Re:A good sign (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daniel Phillips ( 238627 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:46PM (#37461740)

    Ha ha, good point.

    Does not change the fact that Microsoft is running an arguably illegal protection racket.

  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:58PM (#37461864) Journal

    I see that Microsoft has stepped up and started doing their own Linux license shakedown.

    I see a strong uptick in "$699 Linux License" trollage on this forum, except with "Microsoft" instead of "SCO" in the text.

  • by rhook ( 943951 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @07:06PM (#37461924)

    Sounds exactly like extortion to me.

  • Among other things (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GumphMaster ( 772693 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @07:20PM (#37462064)

    The article starts:

    Microsoft Corp. and Casio Computer Co. Ltd. have entered into a broad, multiyear patent cross-licensing agreement that, among other things, will provide Casio’s customers with patent coverage for their use of Linux in certain Casio devices.

    (emphasis mine). I would not mind betting the "other things" are actually the ones that were worth paying for, and that Microsoft slipped the "Linux patents" into the mix because Casio is using Linux. It costs Microsoft nothing but they get "precedent" with which to argue they hold valid patents affecting Linux.

  • by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @08:45PM (#37462894) Homepage

    In terms of technology companies, Microsoft have been pure evil since the 80's. Apple have been wanna-be evil (ie evil at heart but not big enough to flaunt it) since the 90's. Now that they have reached mega-corp status they have indeed revealed themselves to be every bit as evil as Microsoft.

    Boycott them both.

  • Re:A good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @09:27PM (#37463240) Homepage Journal

    Because MS refuses to name any patent that is violated, but will only mumble that there are (may be) a few. They then demand money to make sure nothing bad (like attack of the lawyers) happens to you.

    Unlike legitimate insurance, if anything were to "happen", it would be deliberate on MSs part.

    How is it NOT like a protection racket?

  • Re:A good sign (Score:3, Insightful)

    by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @09:32PM (#37463260) Journal

    Notice how MS won't say exactly which patents, or what violations without an NDA? They tried the same stunt on Barnes & Noble re: their Nook e-book reader. Barnes & Noble told them to fsck off. Which they did, eventually. After all, if MS was so sure about their case, they would have no problem proclaiming everything right out in the open. By not allowing any possible recourse, they are limiting the possible damages they could collect (in the US at least) by the principle of estoppel.

  • Re:Microsoft (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @05:31AM (#37465674) Journal

    I'm sure I'll get hate for pointing this out, but here goes: Yes Linux is infringing. So is frankly any other OS including OSX if you wanted to get technical. How do I know this? Have you SEEN their OS patent portfolio? We are talking about tens of thousands of patents! With THAT many patents it is pretty damned impossible NOT to infringe!

    And someone pointed out that if MSFT were to name the patents could then be worked around and I would argue that is theoretically true but at what cost? If it takes your OS 45 steps to count 2+2 that is gonna cause your OS to take a pretty damned big hit performance wise. Using esoteric workarounds may be fine for bash scripting but we are talking about the guts of the OS here and a hell of a lot of those patents cover pretty much any straight forward way to get from point A to B. so if your OS has to go from A0 through FF and back around again just to get from A to B how badly is it gonna kill your performance?

    This is why I have been arguing for years that free as in beer needs to die, to be replaced solely by free as in freedom. Even RMS says charging is just fine as long as you provide the source but free as in beer cripples the ability for Linux as a whole to fight back by building a huge patent warchest like the other big players have. The patents you are allowed access to, like IBM's, are all by companies that refuse to accept GPL V3, only GPL V2. What if they start TiVo'ing any code they use? As we have seen with Google you can't be assured because they release version A that they will release version B and I wouldn't be surprised if RMS is right and Android just ends up another iPhone, with a FOSS kernel that is worthless to FOSS because none of the stuff that will actually let you run the thing on your device is ever released.

    So free as in beer really needs to go, even if it is only giving the distro $5 a release just to give them a steady income to buy patents. There is a reason why old rivals like Intel and AMD have cross licensing agreements in place, that is because they both know they infringing like mad on each other's work. But all free as in beer does is hurt those that are trying most to help! Look at Red Hat, who gives back more than any other company. did you know that nearly half the webservers out ther are running their code but they don't see a red cent? That is because a leech of a company that USED to pay Red hat for the OS they put on their devices decided they would just keep the code without giving RH back a penny, and thus CentOS was born. don't believe me, look it up. Think about how much better RH would be off, how many more coders, bug fixers, and for the purpose of this discussion how many more patents they could own if they even got 1/4th of the money for all those installs?

    Like it or not money makes the world go around and he who has the gold makes the rules. To really fight something like this Linux needs a patent portfolio so damned large and scary that no company would DARE do anything other than a cross licensing agreement for fear of being crushed. How many FOSS companies like Sun or Novell will go out of business and have their patents snatched up by those that don't support FOSS? Without money you simply have no way to fight back, and free as in beer ends up a tragedy of the commons where you end up with more free riders than you do paying customers and thus ALL suffer, simply by having less resources all around. As the economy continues to sour I foresee things only getting worse on the FOSS front as companies like MSFT have guaranteed income while too many good distros and projects are dependent on the "tin cup" model which with a dead economy is gonna get less and less change in the cup. Its just human nature, if folks don't have to pay for something and money is tight then they won't.

    Of course most would agree that the death of software patents should be the ultimate goal, but after Citizens United? Fat chance friend. Hell they don't have to be subtle in their bribe taking anymore!

God made machine language; all the rest is the work of man.