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Sound the Alarms - Microsoft Hinting at Patent Litigation

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supermike's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-17

Microsoft, in a Forbes article, is hinting at patent ligitation against Linux and/or Linux apps.

http://www.computing.co.uk/forbes/news/2152720/interview-steve-ballmer-linux

dylunio's picture
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Being it Europe this will not affect me, but a large number of linux hackers and iirc Linus himself are in the Stats - if the patents were tested against Linux and other free software there could be trouble for the OS.
But this reminds me of SCO and all that - compaies suing and so forth when they were weak, I think Vista will realy weaken MS due to the fact it forces expencive hardware upgrades on people and companies.

dylunio

(P.S. shouldn't this be on libervis.com and not here?)

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

What should we expect, Ballmer to promise us not to sue us? Of course that wont happen so the option of them attacking the GNU/Linux community with patent litigation is open.

The catch however is that MS is busy with legal troubles as it is. It doesn't really need a yet another big lawsuit on their hands, even if they are the suing party. It also wouldn't look good in the whole context of their EU dispute.

"dylunio" wrote:

(P.S. shouldn't this be on www.libervis.com and not here?)

Yes, you're right. Nuxified.org is mostly for technical support discussions on Free Software. Still though, we can't be too strict with that (like prohibiting these posts here). Some people may not want to register or be active both on Libervis and Nuxified (no matter how recommended that is Eye ) so we can't ban some of these discussions here as well, at least in the lounge..

Recommending Libervis as a good place for it is OK though.

Hmm.. that said, I should move this to the lounge (because Misc is for technical "misc" stuff. Smiling )

Cheers
Daniel

supermike's picture
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For some reason my nuxified.com account won't work with the same username and password as on nuxified.org. I thought I had synced them. Then, when I clicked on Forums, it took me to nuxufied.org, anyway.

So, here's some more I have to say, since I'm in the lounge. On lxer.com, this Tom Adelstein guy is really fascinating.

http://lxer.com/module/newswire/view/57030/index.html

I mean, here he now goes on to insist that Microsoft will go through yet another anti-trust litigation scandal again. He says that because recently Microsoft is starting to cross the line again -- gearing up veiled, thug-like threats again with patent litigation against Linux and Linux apps.

And you can Google for the rest of the stuff that Microsoft has done wrong and hasn't yet been called to the mat.

I wish Tom a lot of luck with his views! He spends a good deal of thought on them and we may see the breakup of Microsoft. I hope he's correct. What a day that will be for us! I also give Tom a lot of credit. He's made quite a bit of money in the Linux tech support call center business.

I actually worry about the future, though. Microsoft is appearing to start to cross the line again in a serious way. Even if they don't win, they'll keep Linux at bay on business and government contract competition with their FUD and litigation (even through third-parties).

What we need is an ace in our pocket. It's not like we can all get in vans and airplanes, show up in major cities around the world, and do peaceful international protest demonstrations against software patents as well as Microsoft. The public would shrug their shoulders and call us geeks, little more. And if we boycott Microsoft software and OEM'd hardware that comes only with MS software, pre-installed, that would do us little good because we're too small a group.

Microsoft, these past few years, is acting like the nasty mean kid in the sandbox, throwing his toys at the heads of the other kids when they want to build the Hot Wheels highway a completely different way. Unfortunately it seems I feel compelled to come down to their level, wanting to donate money to groups actually getting somewhere with USA district attornies and in the EU. Why can't Microsoft just back off and simply focus on making great software, competing with ours by normal marketing with end users, not in market tactics, litigation, and patent law? It's pathetic. It smacks of robberbaronism.

I have never really wanted to strangle someone in my life, but one night when I was working for a Microsoft-owned company (about 5 years ago), I was invited to a dinner with some other programmers. While there, a former Microsoft attorney was there, talking to us about software patents and how are work was fantastic because this company was going to lock it all up in intellectual property vaults. Even though we knew we were owned by Microsoft, all 6 of us tried to stand up to this woman and tell her that software patents were a universally bad idea. She tried every tactic and stood there like the Black Knight of Monty Python's, The Holy Grail. She was an idiot and I seriously wished she were sent on a spaceship to another planet. I cannot think of a career so vile than an intellectual property lawyer with a specialty in software, who wants to uphold the concept of software patents. I'm glad I quit working with Microsoft and joined the other side.

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Joined: 2005-12-21

Linux has gotten to the stage where it is being used so greatly in the server side disbanding it with a court case would be impossible. We run it as desktops, admins use it for their small company servers, new gadget technology comes with it and Google depends on it.

Unless MS is comfortable setting us back into 20 years in regards to software and give us back the blue screen of death, and on top of that be loathed by not only companies like Google, they are going to keep making empty threats to continue to uphold their sense of power while sleeping unsoundly every night.

The only way MS would have a chance in the future is if they begin to deal fairly, create good software and be sincere about it.

That's my summed up take on this, though it does not mean we sit idly by assuming MS is going to hit the wall at some stage for we need to continue to do what we're doing now. :smiling:

Cheers

a thing's picture
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"klepas" wrote:

Unless MS is comfortable setting us back into 20 years in regards to software and give us back the blue screen of death, and on top of that be loathed by not only companies like Google, they are going to keep making empty threats to continue to uphold their sense of power while sleeping unsoundly every night.

I think they are comfortable with that.

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"dylunio" wrote:

Being it Europe this will not affect me, but a large number of linux hackers and iirc Linus himself are in the Stats - if the patents were tested against Linux and other free software there could be trouble for the OS.
But this reminds me of SCO and all that - compaies suing and so forth when they were weak, I think Vista will realy weaken MS due to the fact it forces expencive hardware upgrades on people and companies.

dylunio

(P.S. shouldn't this be on libervis.com and not here?)

Vista will not be Microsoft's downfall.

The reason for that is the fact that it will be shipped on new pcs more than people installing it on old ones, and 1.8ghz isn't that much anymore, with amd fx-60's here, and 3ghz machines available from dell cheaply, so i realy really dsont think it will be the downfall Crying or Very sad

libervisco's picture
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"onlinebacon" wrote:

Vista will not be Microsoft's downfall.

The reason for that is the fact that it will be shipped on new pcs more than people installing it on old ones, and 1.8ghz isn't that much anymore, with amd fx-60's here, and 3ghz machines available from dell cheaply, so i realy really dsont think it will be the downfall Crying or Very sad

Well yeah, they'll still have a good deal of computer makers sell windows computers. However, they're pretty much screwing it up for them as well, especially after this latest release date slip.

Also, people ought to realize that even though the machine they're getting is strong and able to run Vista, it is just wasting their resources in a bad way. They could have used all that computer power they're using to just run an OS to run certain high profile applications and do actual work.

The thing is no matter how strong your computer is, Vista just takes too much. At least that's from what I hear around (and not only on GNU/Linux favoring forums). Webmaster forums on digitalpoint have alot of people very dissatisfied with Vista.

supermike's picture
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I sure hope you all are right. I hope that we see Enterprise Linux desktops start to happen in 2007 because of Microsoft's screw-up. I also hope to see renewed DOJ pressure.

To back up your point on how I think we may see 2007 be a banner year for Enterprise Linux desktops, check this link out:

http://www.betterdesktop.org/wiki/index.php?title=Data

Novell is giving this a really solid effort. I don't think it'll be like a stellar year where Linux takes like 30% to 35% of the world's PC desktops, but it'll be an amazing year, none-the-less.

I also have a comment about Microsoft with their COM and .NET technologies and how this plays in slowing down Vista. First, Microsoft needs to own up to the fact that .NET is not thinner code. It is the illusion of thinner code once you look under the hood and check out the massive size of the shared objects (aka DLLs) required on a fresh computer for deploying apps. It's also a really bad illusion because in some cases it takes more code to do something in .NET than it did with COM. Second, I was told in Redmond, when I used to work for a company owned by Microsoft, that until Vista ships (it went by a different name back then, of course), VS.NET apps will have to "thunk" their APIs over COM. Essentially what that means is that Microsoft wasn't going to rewrite the entire API stack so that VS.NET talked directly to the driver layer. Instead, they were going to take it to the COM layer and COM would eventually run the work. This takes a lot of processor time and memory swapping. The goal in the future Windows was that it was going to remove all that and make COM and VS.NET sit side-by-side all the way down to the driver layer. This was because they cannot jettison COM altogether because too many apps depend on it still. Then, an even future, further out version of Windows was going to remove COM altogether (unless you downloaded it separately) and force you to use only Microsoft-certified and approved software made only in VS.NET. To make matters worse, much of Vista was going to be written in VS.NET, which means fresh new bugs, a complete lack of focus on existing COM bugs, and the code won't be any thinner. Now throw in the fact that they actually have to make people want to switch, which Microsoft is still having trouble with since the days of W2K. In fact, only because of corporate edict by my upper, upper management, did I reluctantly move to XP on my second office PC. I just didn't need it. (BTW, I TS into it with rdesktop after booting up from Ubuntu. Tee hee.)

So let's summarize:

* Vista is going to be a *LOT* fatter because of many bad API architecture decisions that Microsoft refuses to own up to. It might not recover until two to three versions beyond Vista.

* Microsoft is behind DRM and so-called Trustworthy Computing, and this could mean goodbye FLOSS trust on a future Windows OS.

* Microsoft is not playing fair in the W3C and has a browser that isn't as W3C compliant as Firefox and has features that only benefit their browser, making websites break or look terrible when they are viewed in Firefox.

* Even internal employees at Microsoft have admitted on the web, and it's obvious that you can view this yourself, that Microsoft's IE is inferior to Firefox and might as well cede everything to Mozilla.

* Microsoft's ActiveX support in the browser makes websites break for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of users, and is also a problem in many offices with custom applications that depend on it.

* Microsoft continues to miss the security bullet train as it speeds on by.

* Microsoft's .NET ID system, where you use one username and password on a variety of websites, isn't secure enough and has been hacked a few times. In fact, many websites have already dropped support for it.

* Microsoft is thwarting the ODF standard, trying to protect their empire and make people using other technology have to suffer in working with their empire. And yet they cannot even propose a better standard nor care to do so.

* Microsoft created a huge Java incompatibility that we're still not nearly recovered. They infused a bunch of hush money settlement cash in Sun, keeping that scary company solvent a bit longer.

* Microsoft is secretly using partners to funnel money in many lawsuits against anything Linux.

* Microsoft hires firms to come out with bogus studies supporting Windows over Linux.

* The top brass at Microsoft can clearly be seen lying through their teeth and pulling almost Clinton-esque "define what you mean" phrasing during their DOJ testimony.

* Microsoft is having real trouble getting people to even care about paying to upgrade and is looking at the old technique of "customer lockin", such as special agreements with huge companies that they'll get a discount on this OS if they promise to upgrade to the next, or intentionally making many other things that they have break or not work as well unless you upgrade to their latest OS.

* Microsoft has bogus FUD information against Linux with their Get the Facts campaign, and it's backfiring with the journalists, making their situation worse for them.

* The EU seems fairly pissed because of Microsoft's bundling of Media Player with the OS, as well as Microsoft's latest move about the so-called opening of their Windows source to them.

* Microsoft does not support the elimination of software patents and will funnel money into company that fights this.

* Microsoft is slowly but surely losing marketshare outside the USA. It's so bad, they had to form a damage control group:

http://www.catb.org/~esr/halloween/halloween8.html

* Microsoft's next OS is so slow and so bo