Jump to content
spinynorman

What Linspire Agreed To

Recommended Posts

We can read the Linspire-Microsoft patent agreement now, or more precisely Microsoft's "Covenant to Customers", and I thought it would be worthwhile to give it a close, line-by-line reading. I'll explain it as best I can, but ask your lawyer if it matters to you in a real-world sense. For our purposes here, let's just have fun with the worst deal I've seen yet in this category.

 

It's worse than Novell's, actually. It's worse than Tivo, in my book. I know some say that Tivo doesn't interfere with you modifying, as long as you give up using the modified software on Tivo hardware. To me, that is a penalty not contemplated by GPLv2, because if you buy a Tivo, it's because you wanted to use the software with the Tivo hardware, but with Linspire's agreement, you have to give up pretty much all your GPL freedoms, as far as I can make out, and more. And what do you get in return for giving up everything? True Type fonts, Windows Media 10, DVD playback, patent coverage...

More at Groklaw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tut tut, Linspire.

 

It's interesting how we've got two camps here: distros that have signed down with MS and those that have not - but both agree that there have been no patent infringements made by the Linux community. Even MS knows it, I believe - they're just using fear to get the paperwork done.

 

Linspire has always been a bit dead in the water to me - seems now like they're completely doomed. Honestly, who uses Linspire?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Honestly, who uses Linspire?
A good question. In my opinion, they are one of the most insignificant distros today. The agreement hey signed only added to them becoming "insignificant".

 

Talking about the two camps: I believe that this is exactly what MS wanted to achieve: Create distrust and infigthing among the linux-distros and users, so they hurt only themselves. In that respect, MS has partly achieved its goal. But I hope that those distros who signed agreements will either fade away or change the agreement at one point so that it is more bearable for the community.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe that this is exactly what MS wanted to achieve: Create distrust and infigthing among the linux-distros and users, so they hurt only themselves.
I don't know about that. However I do believe Linspire has spectacularly fallen on their own sword. From the start they had the ambition to be the Micro$oft of the open source community. I only await the news that they have faded away into total insignificance. :lol2:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never ever even thought about trying Linspire. I have used well over 30 different Linux and BSD os's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Talking about the two camps: I believe that this is exactly what MS wanted to achieve: Create distrust and infigthing among the linux-distros and users, so they hurt only themselves. In that respect, MS has partly achieved its goal. But I hope that those distros who signed agreements will either fade away or change the agreement at one point so that it is more bearable for the community.

I don't think they have succeeded. The Linux community is divided by distro, according to those whop have signed and those who have not. But when it comes to the question of patent infringement, they still stand together. Even the guys who signed categorically deny any transgression and say they will fight any move by MS to enforce it.

 

I spoke to the CEO of Novell about this not long ago. He said, "... if Microsoft choose to pursue their claims concerning code-level patent infringement, Novell will be in court to defend Linux."

 

From his perspective, the signing allows for Novell to better integrate its solutions with Microsoft's. Nothing more. Novell are a 'deep' provider - and they have a growing number of customers with heterogeneous environments who demand better integration with Microsoft products. Their agreement allows for them to better meet demands.

 

I don't think Microsoft will ever actually act on their ridiculous claims. Their endeavour is even more hopeless than SCO's - I think they were just using scare tactics to get more distros to sign up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think they have succeeded. The Linux community is divided by distro, according to those whop have signed and those who have not. But when it comes to the question of patent infringement, they still stand together. Even the guys who signed categorically deny any transgression and say they will fight any move by MS to enforce it.

 

Honestly it doesn't matter.... its the users that matter not distros and MS have suceeded in splitting them...

Slackware, Debian, Gentoo to name a few will NEVER sign... Novell, Linspire already have.... which gives a split community...

So on patent infringement, those users especially corporate who have signed up for indemnity no longer care... they are no longer going to worry about the unlikely event of MS actually doing anything which as you say is unlikely anyway...

 

I spoke to the CEO of Novell about this not long ago. He said, "... if Microsoft choose to pursue their claims concerning code-level patent infringement, Novell will be in court to defend Linux."

 

From his perspective, the signing allows for Novell to better integrate its solutions with Microsoft's. Nothing more. Novell are a 'deep' provider - and they have a growing number of customers with heterogeneous environments who demand better integration with Microsoft products. Their agreement allows for them to better meet demands.

 

I don't think Microsoft will ever actually act on their ridiculous claims. Their endeavour is even more hopeless than SCO's - I think they were just using scare tactics to get more distros to sign up.

again, don't think it matters... companies sign up for insurance not because they are planning or even expect a hurricane/fire etc. but because of the possibility... so MS is unlikely to ever call on this? EVEN if they had found one patent... because the uncertainty, fear and doubt is much more useful to them..

If you buy a car and two dealers have almost exactly the same price .. down to cents and one has a " year return for any reason" clause and the other not nearly everyone will take the one with the insurance included. Almost all corporate buyers will because the guy who is doing the purchasing doesn't want to be the guy who turns this down and finds a problem later. It doesn't even matter if the dealer in question is known to be a bit of a "used car salesman" and the other a reputable dealer because of the possibility, that guy doesnt want it coming back that he turned down the insurance...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So on patent infringement, those users especially corporate who have signed up for indemnity no longer care... they are no longer going to worry about the unlikely event of MS actually doing anything which as you say is unlikely anyway...

again, don't think it matters... companies sign up for insurance not because they are planning or even expect a hurricane/fire etc. but because of the possibility... so MS is unlikely to ever call on this? EVEN if they had found one patent... because the uncertainty, fear and doubt is much more useful to them..

If you buy a car and two dealers have almost exactly the same price .. down to cents and one has a " year return for any reason" clause and the other not nearly everyone will take the one with the insurance included. Almost all corporate buyers will because the guy who is doing the purchasing doesn't want to be the guy who turns this down and finds a problem later. It doesn't even matter if the dealer in question is known to be a bit of a "used car salesman" and the other a reputable dealer because of the possibility, that guy doesnt want it coming back that he turned down the insurance...

Not completely. Consider Red Hat for example - if you buy RHEL from them they will offer you insurance themselves. They have undertaken to cover all of their customers for patent infringement. And, of course, they have not signed with MS and never will.

 

There are more than one ways to skin a cat ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not completely. Consider Red Hat for example - if you buy RHEL from them they will offer you insurance themselves. They have undertaken to cover all of their customers for patent infringement. And, of course, they have not signed with MS and never will.

 

There are more than one ways to skin a cat ;)

SoulSe, yes but the point I'm making is subtly different... Firstly, I don't beleive this insurqnce will ever be used ... mainly because MS is pulling a bluff with an unloaded gun...

The difference is one is MS endorsed and basically "we will not sue your customers" wheras the other says if they do get sued then RH will cover their ass. I think the likelyhood of this insurance being used is similar to having a large whale appear and fall on my house but one is saying we will prevent any whales suddenly appearing and falling on your house and the other is saying "should a whale suddenly appear we will pick up the bill" ... The case is simple really, the lawyers don't know if the patent claims are even vqlid, the techy's probably tell them not but they have that FUD... which is why MS hasn't even tried directly only through SCO... because the important part is the doubt... andf the corporate lawyers are risk adverse to going to court with MS, even if they have a get outa jail free card...

 

So this is why I think this is simply a tactic to split the community... as Arctic said....

I believe that this is exactly what MS wanted to achieve: Create distrust and infigthing among the linux-distros and users, so they hurt only themselves. In that respect, MS has partly achieved its goal

This is all they need to do to spread doubt... create infighting in the community etc. and DO NOTHING ... so long as they do nothing the doubt remains and each company taking Novell/Linspire just adds to the doubt, even if they chose Novell for a completely different reason...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a thought, but what is to stop an indemnified distribution from taking advantage of its indemnified position and creating applictions or functionality that utilize their newly available patent portfolio and feeding these back into Linux/Free software putting the rest of the Distros in a position where they are violating a patent or two?

 

Or am I just being overly paranoid?

 

Leo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi leo. i wondered that myself.

 

1.) i hope the rest of OS coders would then be cautious using software from such a group and would highly investigate it. my guess, OSS is going to stay away from software from these groups like crazy.

2.) i also think they were one of the following:

a.) intentionally malicious in mislabeling the software thereby entrapping other coders by saying, "this is fair game" instead of labelling it for what it was.

b.) ridiculously dumb and will pay some form of a penalty for doing so.

 

i doubt MS has left this option unforseen and will punish any of the linux allies for such a willful or thoughtless distribution of it's patented software.

 

edit: B) was the result of my orignal outlining scheme such as a), ..., c)

Edited by JonEberger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is more scary is that up till now the MS code has not been seen by for instance Novell. A lot of the Suse dev's are also contributers to OS projects...

Now if they get "exposed" to MS source code how can they ever claim they didn't "use it".... because as we all know there are really only so many ways to skin a cat...

by which I mean when developiung interoperability SW (exchange or SAMBA etc.) they are developing against a fixed end point... i.e. if yoiur going to read/write CIFS then you can only do it so many ways.... so even if they don't see the source code it has to be similar....

Once they actually SEE the MS source code then its easy for MS to claimn any similarity is a patent infringement and NOT reverse engineering... much like the original IBM BIOS project that AMI did... they had to document it and have a team of lawyers ... (and that was with IBM's semi-approval) ...

But this is just a single project... imagine for a the whole of open source!

 

 

....and call me paranoid but I don't think MS would be against "accidentally" leaking some source code and pretending its an accident ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Maikeru

I see there is a decent amount of spite towards the Lindows operating system around here.

 

I am glad to hear that companies such as Canonical do not plan to fold towards Microsoft any time soon.

 

Although I am looking forward to see if anything good truly does happen between Microsoft and Novell.

 

Cheers!

 

Maikeru Hatamoto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...