April 7, 2010 by openbytes
A post today where I am looking at patent violations, the decisions of a court and Microsoft putting its money where its mouth is. I read a decent article this morning regarding Microsoft and its patent maneuvers, which makes some very valid points.
I’m also making some comments on Mono, which (rightly or wrongly) usually pops its head up when Microsoft is mentioned.
Lets look at Mono first. Regular readers to this blog will hopefully have noticed that whenever Mono is mentioned we often get an aggressive response. Now with normal topics a response is usually based on a obvious love/passion for the subject at hand, yet with Mono the response is often rude, sometimes vulgar but more often than not (in my experience) combative.
Dr Schestowitz of TechRights has written an article on this which can be found here and I actually saw Microsoft MVP Mr de Icazza be rather rude on his Twitter account to someone who has concerns about Mono. Is there any need for that? A Mono representative acting in this way? To me it comes as no surprise when we recently saw Jo Shields embark on a series of posts involving the four letter “C” word, which at the time his girlfriend/partner even seemed to challenge. Jo now seems to have moved onto gaming and from the brief skim through of his musings on Twitter appears mainly to do with the Windows platform. Ok.
I think in respect of Mono “the gloves have come off”. There is now nothing left to lose in the battle for Mono advocates to convince people to adopt it. If belittling or bullying tactics are the way to go, then so be it, it cannot harm the Mono image as the damage is already done and is it now a case of:
Cry havok and let slip the dogs of war…
Going back to de Icazza, this “MVP” seems to think belittling someone with the words “You seem like a nice kid” is ok. Certainly Microsoft don’t seem to have a problem and are happy to put their MVP status on Mr de Icazza’s doorstep.
With the aggressiveness of any response to Mono opposition there are people who REALLY want you to accept Mono. Unfortunately from what I can see, with behaviour like this, it only adds to the image of Mono and lets face it for those that know what it is, the opposition to it is certainly not a minority.
Moving on now to the Microsoft and patent article I referred to earlier, Ive often wondered that IF Linux is actually infringing on some 200 or so patents, IF (as its reported) Linux developers have offered to remove the offending code should it prove to be the case, why then does Microsoft not specify exactly which/all of the patents Linux allegedly infringes on. Furthermore, should an infringement case go to court, surely the question should be asked of Microsoft “If people are offering to work with you and remove any offending code, why are you only now bringing the case and why didn’t you provide the information earlier so that the matter could be rectified?” I think the answer is simple. Money. Its my view that Microsoft isn’t interested in working with the FOSS world (or Linux Kernel developers) theres no money there, no, better to wait until a distro threatens the cash cow of Windows and then strike. I wonder what you think, but consider this, if a product was infringing on patents of yours right now, what would you do? Sit back and say nothing? If so, for what purpose would you be doing this?
As I see it, the only other explanation is that in fact the patent infringements are not solid cases as Microsoft would have you believe and they’ve got their best poker face on. Unfortunately the amount of money that Microsoft could through at a case would make even the bravest company think twice and settle with a “deal” out of court. – I do wonder though, if Microsoft’s bluff is called and it transpires that these patent infringements are all hot air, what will Novell think? and will they feel rather silly?
As the article says (which is linked above):
As soon as you start making money with Linux software, and Microsoft doesn’t get your money they attack you in some way.
and goes on to say (quite rightly)
I hope that someone will have the ire to stand against Microsoft at some point, and demand that the accusations and the specifics of the violations and violators be made public. How can anyone comply if the information isn’t made public?
Of course these have not yet been forthcoming and maybe Microsoft doesn’t even know themselves? What we have to keep in mind also is that Microsoft merely only needs to sell these patents to a 3rd party in order to attack Linux by proxy, whilst still claiming to “love the FOSS”.
If Microsoft ever makes a direct claim about the Linux kernel infringing on its patent portfolio, then the question also needs to be asked, what on earth were you thinking then when submitting code to it? and a comment from an article in July (which I am sure we all remember) said:
Microsoft contributed 22,000 lines of code which make up four drivers that provide hooks for any Linux distribution to run on Windows Server 2008 and its Hyper-V hypervisor virtualisation technology…..
So whats left for Microsoft? As a previous commenter liked to point out, Windows has massive market penetration. I wonder though what would have happened if there were the choices around today when Windows first started on its home adoption path?
Consider a relatively new platform like the mobile phone and ask where is the emulation of a massive user base having Windows on their handsets….where? I don’t see it. What I see is Apple, Google and other having the popularity and the usage, with Windows Mobile popping up as an afterthought or on the brunt of a rant after its failed to perform. I could be wrong, so please someone show me where the Windows brand has impressed and penetrated a market in an emulation of Windows desktop. Could it be that years of the home user having Windows are the only real viable option be the reason for why there is still a massive usage of Windows desktop? – I’d say it is because as more technologies are released we see an increasing trend to rely on a non-Microsoft OS.
Are people merely sticking with Microsoft now out of habit? I’ll let you decide.
Goblin – firstname.lastname@example.org
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