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View Full Version : Could Microsoft be the downfall of Linux? (Patents)



jordanae
April 29th, 2009, 03:58 AM
Before you flame me saying, "of course not! Linux is so much better than Windows, and there will always be Linux users!" hear me out.

I read on Microsoft's website that there are about 250 Microsoft patents that are currently being used by the Linux kernel. They also said they have no intentions to sue Linux in any way. However, I read this on Microsoft's "Get the Facts" page where they're pretty much flaming Linux (mostly RHEL).

This is clearly an attack against Linux users, and an attempt to eliminate competition. So what I think is that if Linux rises up and becomes a threatening competitor (which is very likely based on our economy and the low to no cost of Linux) Microsoft will begin passing out lawsuits to anything running Linux.

Something you may not know is that patents don't only give the patent holders the right to sue software developers or the companies that distribute the software, but it also enables them to sue regular people like you and me who use the software.

So not only would Microsoft be able to go after the distributions that are partially or fully owned by a company, but it could go after the people who developed the patented portions of Linux and anyone who owns a copy of Linux, used or not.

So even though one may think that Linux is untouchable, or that it's going nowhere but up, there is a possibility that sometime in the future Linux will be illegal.

ninjapirate89
April 29th, 2009, 04:00 AM
It's just Microsoft FUD. If they really had any patents that linux infringed upon they would have already released the hounds.

jordanae
April 29th, 2009, 04:04 AM
It's just Microsoft FUD. If they really had any patents that linux infringed upon they would have already released the hounds.

I don't think so. I looked further into it and the way this was found out was a lawyer who specialized in patents (not sure if it's software patents) looked into it just for the hell of it. And then when I was learning more about patents I heard it again by a guy against software patenting.
The two hour video was worth it XD

ninjapirate89
April 29th, 2009, 04:07 AM
I don't think so. I looked further into it and the way this was found out was a lawyer who specialized in patents (not sure if it's software patents) looked into it just for the hell of it. And then when I was learning more about patents I heard it again by a guy against software patenting.
The two hour video was worth it XD

Maybe they really do have patents that they say linux infringes on but there must be a good reason they haven't done anything about it. Maybe they don't have proof that linux is actually infringing on them and are just speculating.

Kareeser
April 29th, 2009, 04:10 AM
Should Microsoft declare intent to sue, developers would roll back changes to an open-source alternative so fast that Microsoft wouldn't be able to get anything off the ground.

Sure, it sucks, since we all know that exactly one minute later, hundreds upon thousands of confused users would log onto Ubuntuforums.org and ask why their OS needs to be reconfigured...

ninjapirate89
April 29th, 2009, 04:12 AM
Should Microsoft declare intent to sue, developers would roll back changes to an open-source alternative so fast that Microsoft wouldn't be able to get anything off the ground.

Sure, it sucks, since we all know that exactly one minute later, hundreds upon thousands of confused users would log onto Ubuntuforums.org and ask why their OS needs to be reconfigured...

Unless we simply don't update.

gymophett
April 29th, 2009, 04:13 AM
Sorry, but it will NEVER be illegal.
I still don't see why it would.
If it was, someone would just create a new kernel called Coonix or something.

konqueror7
April 29th, 2009, 04:20 AM
i think smart decision makers would know how to choose between a good OS and a bad OS...:P

SunnyRabbiera
April 29th, 2009, 04:21 AM
Microsoft likes to blow its smoke, but there is never any fire...

ninjapirate89
April 29th, 2009, 04:22 AM
Microsoft likes to blow its smoke, but there is never any fire...

Unless you leave a computer running one of their OS's on too long. <- Poor attempt at humor

oack
April 29th, 2009, 04:23 AM
MS should put up or shut up

CJ Master
April 29th, 2009, 04:26 AM
MS should put up or shut up

If they do have patents on Linux (a very big if,) you would very much regret that statement.

lykwydchykyn
April 29th, 2009, 04:27 AM
I wouldn't lose sleep over it -
- Software patents are not universal. They don't hold outside the USA for the most part.
- The patents involved are *alleged* infringments. They would have to be tried in a court to hold any weight.
- Microsoft isn't the only company with patents, and Linux isn't all hackers in the basement. IBM, Novell, RedHat, Google, and Oracle are just a few of the companies heavily invested in Linux with patent portfolios that could be aimed at MS.
- There are at least a couple of well-funded organizations ready to defend FOSS projects against patent lawsuits. The software freedom law center is one example.

You also might want to read up on the Open Invention Network if you're truly worried about this. Linux has powerful friends.

jordanae
April 29th, 2009, 04:29 AM
If the Linux kernel was to degrade so much so that all of the patents infringements were gone then either it would be inoperable completely, harder to use (which means most Linux users wouldn't be able to use it), or it would just be Unix.
And as for the guy who said it's not possible for Linux to be illegal I'll put it this way. Say Linux had a segment of code (I'm saying it this way because I don't understand the Linux kernel) that made it so that you could move your cursor using your mouse. Well Microsoft can come in and say "HEY! We patented that!" Then there would be a lawsuit and/or that part of the code would have to be deleted making it so you can't use your mouse.
Now think about it. About 250 patents being infringed upon are in the Linux kernel. That means those 250 pieces of code are ILLEGAL unless authorized by the patent holder.

jordanae
April 29th, 2009, 04:36 AM
I wouldn't lose sleep over it -
- Software patents are not universal. They don't hold outside the USA for the most part.
- The patents involved are *alleged* infringments. They would have to be tried in a court to hold any weight.
- Microsoft isn't the only company with patents, and Linux isn't all hackers in the basement. IBM, Novell, RedHat, Google, and Oracle are just a few of the companies heavily invested in Linux with patent portfolios that could be aimed at MS.
- There are at least a couple of well-funded organizations ready to defend FOSS projects against patent lawsuits. The software freedom law center is one example.

You also might want to read up on the Open Invention Network if you're truly worried about this. Linux has powerful friends.

I'm not worried about it, just interested.
But even though software patents aren't universal, they can be submitted to other countries even if the patent holder lives in another.
And I know, Linux would be tough to take down, but remember Microsoft is legally considered a Monopoly.

mc4100
April 29th, 2009, 04:40 AM
Say Linux had a segment of code (I'm saying it this way because I don't understand the Linux kernel) that made it so that you could move your cursor using your mouse. Well Microsoft can come in and say "HEY! We patented that!" Then there would be a lawsuit and/or that part of the code would have to be deleted making it so you can't use your mouse.
The are rules for granting patents for obvious things such as this, and if they had been, would likely be thrown out if Microsoft legaly claimed any infringement.
Any reasonably obscure coincidences would be replaced by sufficiently different code almost immediately.
You don't need to worry about Microsoft commandeering your mouse any time soon.

jordanae
April 29th, 2009, 04:46 AM
The are rules for granting patents for obvious things such as this, and if they had been, would likely be thrown out if Microsoft legaly claimed any infringement.
Any reasonably obscure coincidences would be replaced by sufficiently different code almost immediately.
You don't need to worry about Microsoft commandeering your mouse any time soon.

That wasn't my point at all. I was just trying to put the concept as simply as I could.

mc4100
April 29th, 2009, 04:53 AM
That wasn't my point at all.
Was it not that, should Microsoft enforce its patent infringement, the kernel would be crippled due the removal of offending code?

Simple: that's never going to happen.
As I said, all issues would be simply be reimplemented with new code and not just deleted. We could just work around the problems. I suspect most patents would be thrown out for being obvious, software patents are notorious for being as broad and encapsulating as they can get away with.

jordanae
April 29th, 2009, 04:56 AM
Was it not that, should Microsoft enforce its patent infringement, the kernel would be crippled due the remove of offending code?

Simple: that's never going to happen.
As I said, all issues would be simply be reimplemented with new code and not just deleted. We could just work around the problems. I suspect most patents would be thrown out for being obvious, software patents are notorious for being as broad and encapsulating as they can get away with.

But even so there would be lawsuits, a time period in which Linux would be primitive, and there would still be some things that just couldn't be worked around.

betrunkenaffe
April 29th, 2009, 05:17 AM
There are also patents that MS is infringing on. Would be a very sad day for everyone involved... except outside of the USA where no one would really care and continue to do things because it's legal, which amounts to around 99% of the world population.. granted, not everyone has a computer :P

I would love to see news articles about the big bad communist Linux and how MS is going to destroy it for patent infringement.

entr3p
April 29th, 2009, 06:09 AM
It's simple as this. Windows has nothing. You know why?

Google is using Linux in Android

Google is a big threat to Windows and as they have always done, would try to stop them no matter what.

ninjapirate89
April 29th, 2009, 06:26 AM
It's simple as this. Windows has nothing. You know why?

Google is using Linux in Android

Google is a big threat to Windows and as they have always done, would try to stop them no matter what.

This doesn't mean that Microsoft doesn't actually have the patent's they claim they do, it just means that Microsoft is afraid to take action against someone who may have a fighting chance. In other words, because linux developers are supported by companies such as Google, they can't just bully everyone around.

Eisenwinter
April 29th, 2009, 08:42 AM
If they do have proof of patent infrigement by Linux, and decide to sue, I'm pretty sure everyone will just start pushing the development of GNU HURD.

eragon100
April 29th, 2009, 09:23 AM
I don't think they are really interested in going to court.
If they where, then why on earth haven't they done anything about WINE yet?

Because of that software, I just bought two fun windows-only games and they run perfectly on ubuntu. I don't have windows installed, not even a dual-boot.

Mehall
April 29th, 2009, 09:28 AM
Actually, they HAVE tried to stop WINE.

WINE actually has a policy that you cannot help out if you have seen any of MSFTs code, due to the (granted, limited) legal threats that have been drawn against it in the past.

argie
April 29th, 2009, 09:59 AM
If they do have proof of patent infrigement by Linux, and decide to sue, I'm pretty sure everyone will just start pushing the development of GNU HURD.

Fortunately, even if they sue and win, other countries are sane enough to have no support for software patents.

billgoldberg
April 29th, 2009, 10:01 AM
Before you flame me saying, "of course not! Linux is so much better than Linux, and there will always be Linux users!" hear me out.

I read on Microsoft's website that there are about 250 Microsoft patents that are currently being used by the Linux kernel. They also said they have no intentions to sue Linux in any way. However, I read this on Microsoft's "Get the Facts" page where they're pretty much flaming Linux (mostly RHEL).

This is clearly an attack against Linux users, and an attempt to eliminate competition. So what I think is that if Linux rises up and becomes a threatening competitor (which is very likely based on our economy and the low to no cost of Linux) Microsoft will begin passing out lawsuits to anything running Linux.

Something you may not know is that patents don't only give the patent holders the right to sue software developers or the companies that distribute the software, but it also enables them to sue regular people like you and me who use the software.

So not only would Microsoft be able to go after the distributions that are partially or fully owned by a company, but it could go after the people who developed the patented portions of Linux and anyone who owns a copy of Linux, used or not.

So even though one may think that Linux is untouchable, or that it's going nowhere but up, there is a possibility that sometime in the future Linux will be illegal.

Like other have said: Microsoft FUD.

Their claims aren't true.

And if by some longshot they were true and decided to sue, those technologies would be out of the linux kernel faster than MS could make their case.

billgoldberg
April 29th, 2009, 10:03 AM
If they do have proof of patent infrigement by Linux, and decide to sue, I'm pretty sure everyone will just start pushing the development of GNU HURD.

Yeah right.

The Linux kernel wouldn't go away, it would just remove those technologies out of it.

Screwdriver0815
April 29th, 2009, 10:09 AM
lol... Microsofts FUD... its funny.

as already posted: software patents are not ruleing all around the world. In Europe they are not used.

If there would be these 250 patents and if they would be so critical, MS would have sued already. Instead they have made contracts with Novel and other open source companies which protect Linux-users on one side and MS-users on the other side against sueīs from each side of the softwareworld...

the most funny thing on the "get the facts"-FUD-site is the "comparison" between Windows Server 2003 and RHEL :)

they say, that when you want to switch between Linux Distros, you can not use the same software and you have less choice in software than with windows :lolflag:

on the other hand they say, that there are "thousands" of apps available for Windows... when I have a look into my standard-repo-stuff, I have 12000 apps available, if I add some more repos, it will be hundreds of thousands :confused: and this is only an average home-desktop...

and 450.000 supporters for windows are also available... for Linux? ... eh... some millions? :D

less choice and less support with Linux... its too funny *ROFL* :lol:

Dragonbite
April 29th, 2009, 02:01 PM
lol... Microsofts FUD... its funny.

as already posted: software patents are not ruleing all around the world.

That was my first thought. So Microsoft would make themselves and enemy of all Linux users, screw over the American Linux users and basically get all other countries real reason to throw all Microsoft and Windows touched technology out the window and to adopt Linux where it is safer and Microsoft looses out much more than they will ever gain.

Oh, and Apple would get such a woody. :lolflag:

blastus
April 29th, 2009, 02:27 PM
If the U.S. court system and government ruled in favor of Microsoft, it would put an end to U.S. (and unfortunately likely Canadian since our government is a puppet of the U.S. government) commercial, academic, medical, and military research using free and open source software. When you give one company with so much power and wealth the ability to break a nation's innovation backbone (not to mention the commercial use of free and open source software in important infrastructure such as railways, telecommunications, banks, etc...), there's only one possible outcome; the U.S. would eventually become a technologically backwards nation.

Dragonbite
April 29th, 2009, 02:43 PM
If the U.S. court system and government ruled in favor of Microsoft, it would put an end to U.S. (and unfortunately likely Canadian since our government is a puppet of the U.S. government) commercial, academic, medical, and military research using free and open source software. When you give one company with so much power and wealth the ability to break a nation's innovation backbone (not to mention the commercial use of free and open source software in important infrastructure such as railways, telecommunications, banks, etc...), there's only one possible outcome; the U.S. would eventually become a technologically backwards nation.

Well, Linux may not survive but that doesn't kill the rest of FOSS. Also, depends on how deep it goes, or does it stop at Linux and thus BSD, Solaris, or IBM's/HP's home-grown Unix will keep on ticking.

gaffurabi
April 29th, 2009, 02:48 PM
I don't think so. I looked further into it and the way this was found out was a lawyer who specialized in patents (not sure if it's software patents) looked into it just for the hell of it. And then when I was learning more about patents I heard it again by a guy against software patenting.
The two hour video was worth it XD

software without resulting into direct action (not like CNC machines, for ex.) can only be patented in USA afaik

3Miro
April 29th, 2009, 02:49 PM
Underground resistance movement would come up immediately.

Every piece of proprietary software created has been hacked and cracked and they cannot do anything about it.

Methuselah
April 29th, 2009, 03:13 PM
Very unlikely scenario for Microsoft to 'kill' linux by patent suites.
Each patent would have to be tested in court and some would probably be thrown out anyway.
Open source software holds defensive patents too, BTW.
If Microsoft tries patent attacks it'll be beceause it's already beaten.

Also, do remember that the open source software stack consists of a very diverse set of components.
Microsoft likes to muddy the waters by using the term linux to cover everything but Linus Torvalds is responsible for Linux.
XOrg is developed by a different group as are Gnome and Kde.
For example, if MS feels any of the DEs infringe on its patents and brought a suit that would not affect Linux in the truest technical sense.
So I would consider it rather unlikely for Microsoft to get a broad judgement against a mythical system without there being specificity about what the infringing software is.

And guess what, if the legality of some component were successfully challenged in some district we'd just remove it when distributing FOSS in that district.
And of course, that component would be available in unaffected districts and in the affected ones too if you wish to obtain it yourself.

jordanae
April 29th, 2009, 03:59 PM
Microsoft won't do anything about it now, but if Linux becomes a big threat to Microsoft then what options would they have other than getting rid of Linux?

CJ Master
April 29th, 2009, 04:03 PM
Microsoft won't do anything about it now, but if Linux becomes a big threat to Microsoft then what options would they have other than getting rid of Linux?

Have you read the other posts? >.>

MikeTheC
April 29th, 2009, 04:05 PM
Then let them put all of us who use Linux in jail. Go for it. My attitude (which has not improved with the turn of recent events in general) is that, if you want to take me on, then don't just talk about it, do it!

I'd like to see what would happen if Microsoft (right or wrong) tried to pull this stunt. I mean, I'm confident they wouldn't actually try to put end users in jail, but I'd really like to see them try. Can you imagine the hew and cry that would result over that kind of an action?

I'm reminded of a line from Star Wars: "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

Firestem4
April 29th, 2009, 04:09 PM
Microsoft won't do anything about it now, but if Linux becomes a big threat to Microsoft then what options would they have other than getting rid of Linux?

If Linux gets to the point where we are a "Big Threat" to Microsoft (Which we are anyways), But I am assuming from your point-of-view. Then it will be too late for Microsoft to do anything about it.

3Miro
April 29th, 2009, 04:14 PM
I evoke my second amendment right, Linux is the 21th century equivalent of a firearm. It is a cyber-weapon and I have the right to protect myself and my family from the windows viruses.

jordanae
April 29th, 2009, 04:14 PM
Have you read the other posts? >.>

Yup. And I keep on hearing why Microsoft won't start handing out lawsuits. There are a lot of posts of people giving reasons and I'm pretty sure everybody gets it. But what would keep them from attacking Linux if Linux becomes the most widespread OS out there?

And there's a point that I made before that I think got overlooked. Patents can be made in more than one country. That means that if a country supports software patenting then anyone can submit something for patenting. Just because it starts in the US doesn't mean that it's confined to it.

Dragonbite
April 29th, 2009, 04:16 PM
I doubt Microsoft would go against individuals, the effectiveness of the RIAA and public backlash should be a fore-warning to not do that.

Use it against companies, though, is possible although I dont' think it would be full-bore but rather drawn-out pot shots to disrupt business of certain vendors such as Red Hat, Novell, IBM and/or Oracle.

The leveling ground with that, though, is that any of these four would have the ability to fight back (well, Red Hat may have more problems than the others to absorb the cost) but if there is any cooperation between the three then Microsoft would be in line for a whole lotta hurt.

And in the meantime, outside-USA companies would then be able to move in on the vacuum like Canonica/Ubuntu, Mandriva, TurboLinux and a host of Linux versions to crop up between now and then.

MikeTheC
April 29th, 2009, 04:23 PM
We would be wise not to lose sight of the fact that this still remains one gigantic chess game. This is very big-league stuff, and it remains of critical importance that the entire F/OSS ecosystem, of which Linux is a part, stays healthy, well-supported and intact. Apple and F/OSS together can break the back of Microsoft if they simply possess the will to do so; but only F/OSS and the related organizations are mankind's only real technological defense against usurpations of rights, safety and security.

Firestem4
April 29th, 2009, 04:23 PM
Yup. And I keep on hearing why Microsoft won't start handing out lawsuits. There are a lot of posts of people giving reasons and I'm pretty sure everybody gets it. But what would keep them from attacking Linux if Linux becomes the most widespread OS out there?

And there's a point that I made before that I think got overlooked. Patents can be made in more than one country. That means that if a country supports software patenting then anyone can submit something for patenting. Just because it starts in the US doesn't mean that it's confined to it.

If Linux becomes the most widespread OS, then obviously that means that Microsoft is no longer the big guy. In this case Linux will hold more power over Microsoft. They can't do anything now and won't be able to in the future, either.

One thing you may have overlooked is Linux (and other OSS) runs on 70% of the worlds servers. While the Desktop Usage may be small in comparison with Microsoft's. Corporate, business, and enterprise use is unmatched. I would LOVE to see Microsoft try and take that down.

koshatnik
April 29th, 2009, 04:24 PM
Before you flame me saying, "of course not! Linux is so much better than Windows, and there will always be Linux users!" hear me out.

I read on Microsoft's website that there are about 250 Microsoft patents that are currently being used by the Linux kernel. They also said they have no intentions to sue Linux in any way. However, I read this on Microsoft's "Get the Facts" page where they're pretty much flaming Linux (mostly RHEL).

This is clearly an attack against Linux users, and an attempt to eliminate competition. So what I think is that if Linux rises up and becomes a threatening competitor (which is very likely based on our economy and the low to no cost of Linux) Microsoft will begin passing out lawsuits to anything running Linux.

Something you may not know is that patents don't only give the patent holders the right to sue software developers or the companies that distribute the software, but it also enables them to sue regular people like you and me who use the software.

So not only would Microsoft be able to go after the distributions that are partially or fully owned by a company, but it could go after the people who developed the patented portions of Linux and anyone who owns a copy of Linux, used or not.

So even though one may think that Linux is untouchable, or that it's going nowhere but up, there is a possibility that sometime in the future Linux will be illegal.

Those that can, sue. Those that can't, threaten to sue.

How many patent violations are in MS code? Hundreds maybe thousands.

You pays yer money, you take your choice.

3Miro
April 29th, 2009, 04:34 PM
Some people take Apple as MS's main competitor, however, I don't think Apple is even trying to compete with MS. Some years ago the largest Apple shareholder was Chairman Bill G. Apple derived most of its software from OSS, so why don't they drop the price a little. They don't want to drop the price, because they are comfortable with the huge profit margin that they have and at the same time MS need them to show that they do not hold monopoly over the market.

Mac OSX is better than Windows, however, I don't think Apple is better than Microsoft.

marco123
April 29th, 2009, 05:38 PM
Should Microsoft declare intent to sue, developers would roll back changes to an open-source alternative so fast that Microsoft wouldn't be able to get anything off the ground.

Sure, it sucks, since we all know that exactly one minute later, hundreds upon thousands of confused users would log onto Ubuntuforums.org and ask why their OS needs to be reconfigured...

+1

Linux is open source, anyone with the know how can rebuild the entire OS from the ground up, from kernel to DE.

The FUD does get to people though (like the OP) and that is Microsoft's intention. Average users could be put off from switching if they think they could be sued = job done for Microsoft.

I do think that anyone with knowledge of Microsoft and their business practices do know what's going on and are completely unfazed by their futile posturing.

Cheers, Marco.

Screwdriver0815
April 29th, 2009, 06:02 PM
if Microsoft would do any lawyer actions against Linux or FOSS in general, then we all know that they are already gone at this moment when they start the sue at court.

remember the story of "SCO vs. Linux"... SCO is down and dead

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCO_Group#SCO-Linux_lawsuits_and_controversies

the last actions was to sue some Linux vendors because they should have used some Unix-code in the Linux-kernel. SCO lost it all...

so don't make yourself confused. Microsoft will not kill Linux neither any Linux vendor. Linux has big friends and also a lot of smaller friends. Together we are strong, stronger than any company on this planet

Icehuck
April 29th, 2009, 06:06 PM
if Microsoft would do any lawyer actions against Linux or FOSS in general, then we all know that they are already gone at this moment when they start the sue at court.



They took action against Novell and TomTom with both of them settling. TomTom pretty much gave Microsoft whatever they wanted.

Dragonbite
April 29th, 2009, 06:23 PM
I think Linux is more at risk of making really dumb moves. In part because Linux cannot afford to loose any ground while MS is losing ground and still sits on a pile of cash and majority marketshare.

Screwdriver0815
April 29th, 2009, 07:26 PM
They took action against Novell and TomTom with both of them settling. TomTom pretty much gave Microsoft whatever they wanted.

yes, but maybe Novell and TomTom did it because Microsoft was right and there was no other chance to get out of this?

Claiming that there are patents used and sueing or legal actions are two different things and when microsoft doesn't start lawyer-actions then for me this is a sign that they are not sure to win it. And when they are not sure to win the court-fight, then it is not sure whether the technical basic (the code-stuff) for the legal action is really a patent of microsoft or rather common technology.

And (once again): softwarepatents are only in the US, over here in europe we don't have such crazy things :D

swoll1980
April 29th, 2009, 07:43 PM
As Balki Bartokomous (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balki_Bartokomous) used to say, "Well, of course not. Don't be Ridiculous, cousin"

Dragonbite
April 29th, 2009, 07:54 PM
yes, but maybe Novell and TomTom did it because Microsoft was right and there was no other chance to get out of this?

Claiming that there are patents used and sueing or legal actions are two different things and when microsoft doesn't start lawyer-actions then for me this is a sign that they are not sure to win it. And when they are not sure to win the court-fight, then it is not sure whether the technical basic (the code-stuff) for the legal action is really a patent of microsoft or rather common technology.

And (once again): softwarepatents are only in the US, over here in europe we don't have such crazy things :D

Or is it because both companies saw the vast war chest Microsoft has, and thought it better to put this behind them then let themselves be destroyed without anything more than a small blip on Microsoft's financials?

Screwdriver0815
April 29th, 2009, 07:58 PM
Or is it because both companies saw the vast war chest Microsoft has, and thought it better to put this behind them then let themselves be destroyed without anything more than a small blip on Microsoft's financials?

maybe... or the reality lies between the both extremes.

But speaking generally, I don't think that Microsoft could kill Linux or FOSS. If they could, they would have done it already

meeples
April 29th, 2009, 08:02 PM
They took action against Novell and TomTom with both of them settling. TomTom pretty much gave Microsoft whatever they wanted.

no they didnt.

they joined the linux foundation didnt they? tomtom countersued and that war is still going on im sure. im pretty sure tomtom might do everything they can to win, i dont think there exactly big fans of microsoft and they'll want to do everything in theyre power to win.

meeples
April 29th, 2009, 08:07 PM
ok just googled, i was clearly behind on this.

but yea this may be appropriate: http://www.computerworlduk.com/toolbox/open-source/blogs/index.cfm?entryid=2044&blogid=14

Icehuck
April 29th, 2009, 08:08 PM
no they didnt.

they joined the linux foundation didnt they? tomtom countersued and that war is still going on im sure. im pretty sure tomtom might do everything they can to win, i dont think there exactly big fans of microsoft and they'll want to do everything in theyre power to win.

Unless something changed within the last month, this is not the case. From here (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10206988-56.html)


As part of the deal, as TomTom will pay Microsoft for patent protection related to mapping patents and file-management patents that Microsoft claimed were infringed by TomTom's use of the Linux kernel. Microsoft will also get access to the TomTom patents that were cited in TomTom's countersuit against Microsoft, although Microsoft won't make any payment to TomTom.

Sounds like they gave Microsoft exactly what Microsoft wanted. Microsoft doesn't sue the pants off of TomTom, gets money from TomTom, and gets access to TomTom's patents.

garythegoth
April 29th, 2009, 08:10 PM
Microsoft just lost 30% in value. Going after multiple court cases against Linux could seriously damage them financially at the moment.
Going after the users of Linux, which at last count was about 34/35 million is just impossible. Microsoft has always been full of crap when they get scared by competition. Why do you think the own such a large stake in Apple?

Bringing claims against users of Linux would be laughed out of court.

"Hey you"

"Me?"

"Yes you, you been using are patented material illegally!"

"Oh, ummmmmmm I didnt know that...."

What court would prosecute that person?

I know the law is screwed up, but it isnt THAT screwed up.

They could go after Red Hat, but chances are they would lose.

They wont reveal what the patents are because if they did and it turned out to be true, the code in question would be rewritten so fast they would be left with no leverage to threaten Linux companies into signing "agreements".

Its just the same old Microsoft ********. Then again with a complete retard of a boss like Steve Balmer leading the brand what do you expect?

In the future if they say anything, just point and laugh, they have little value for anything else.

Icehuck
April 29th, 2009, 08:12 PM
Microsoft just lost 30% in value. Going after multiple court cases against Linux could seriously damage them financially at the moment.
Going after the users of Linux, which at last count was about 34/35 million is just impossible. Microsoft has always been full of crap when they get scared by competition. Why do you think the own such a large stake in Apple?

Bringing claims against users of Linux would be laughed out of court.

"Hey you"

"Me?"

"Yes you, you been using are patented material illegally!"

"Oh, ummmmmmm I didnt know that...."

What court would prosecute that person?

I know the law is screwed up, but it isnt THAT screwed up.

They could go after Red Hat, but chances are they would lose.



Ignorance of the law does not make anyone less guilty when violating it. Why would they go after users? It is far more damaging to go after companies like Novell and Red Hat since they contribute a huge portion to development. Remember they already pounced on Novell. What makes you think that Red Hat wouldn't settle?

garythegoth
April 29th, 2009, 08:15 PM
Ignorance of the law does not make anyone less guilty when violating it. Why would they go after users? It is far more damaging to go after companies like Novell and Red Hat since they contribute a huge portion to development. Remember they already pounced on Novell. What makes you think that Red Hat wouldn't settle?

Actually for this kind of thing it does.

meeples
April 29th, 2009, 08:21 PM
i know this unlikely but what do you think would happen if microsoft started on canonical?


im not sure mark shuttleworth would settle unless he really didnt have a choice.

3Miro
April 29th, 2009, 08:22 PM
MS can go after Red Hat or Novell or maybe even Canonical, however, none of those constitutes Linux. We are Linux, the people that are using it and even more the people that contribute code to it. I wonder how can MS go against that.

garythegoth
April 29th, 2009, 08:23 PM
i know this unlikely but what do you think would happen if microsoft started on canonical?


im not sure mark shuttleworth would settle unless he really didnt have a choice.

Its the most popular Linux distro, with a rapidly growing user base. It would more than likely be one of their first targets.

Dragonbite
April 29th, 2009, 08:36 PM
i know this unlikely but what do you think would happen if microsoft started on canonical?

Then Red Hat would have time to get themselves prepared and line up all the guns they need, the backers, the lawyers and the developers so that Microsoft would be Micro-toast!

No, they would go for Red Hat most likely because if Red Hat fell then that would be the bigger damager to the Linux movement. More companies that use Red Hat would panic and look for a "safe" alternative which Microsoft would gladly portray.

Or they would go gunning for Linux kernel writers since if they can stop kernel development then everything else is moot.

jordanae
April 29th, 2009, 08:38 PM
Ignorance of the law does not make anyone less guilty when violating it. Why would they go after users? It is far more damaging to go after companies like Novell and Red Hat since they contribute a huge portion to development. Remember they already pounced on Novell. What makes you think that Red Hat wouldn't settle?

Because they've already stated that they won't O.o

garythegoth
April 29th, 2009, 08:39 PM
Then Red Hat would have time to get themselves prepared and line up all the guns they need, the backers, the lawyers and the developers so that Microsoft would be Micro-toast!

No, they would go for Red Hat most likely because if Red Hat fell then that would be the bigger damager to the Linux movement. More companies that use Red Hat would panic and look for a "safe" alternative which Microsoft would gladly portray.

Or they would go gunning for Linux kernel writers since if they can stop kernel development then everything else is moot.

Not really Linux developers are kind of like zombies. For every 1 you take out theres a 100 to replace them.
And the whole decentralised nature of Linux means it would be almost impossible to stop.

Icehuck
April 29th, 2009, 08:43 PM
Because they've already stated that they won't O.o

The economy is bad and lawsuits are expensive. Do you think they can afford to fight?

Dragonbite
April 29th, 2009, 08:44 PM
Red Hat posted an article which includes a mention of 3 of Microsoft's patent in dispute, from the TomTom trial.

The full article can be found here: Fighting Bad Patents with Good Prior Art (http://press.redhat.com/2009/04/29/fighting-bad-patents-with-good-prior-art/)

This week the Open Invention Network, of which Red Hat is a founding member, opened a new chapter with its Linux Defenders project to address patent threats against open source. Yesterday, OIN posted three of the patents that Microsoft asserted in a recent lawsuit against TomTom. OIN is inviting interested persons to contribute prior art to help invalidate those patents.

They also mention in regards to fighting the patent ...

For a successful patent challenge, one must establish that the prior art contains all of the recitations in the claim. But a single prior-art reference need not contain exactly the claimed invention. Validity challenges often combine two or more prior-art references that together render the claimed invention obvious. It’s helpful for a challenger to collect a variety of prior art, because even though the individual pieces in isolation may be inadequate, the collection may establish invalidity.


From another article from Red Hat website (Some Sunshine on Shadowy Patent Threats: A Reaction to Microsoft v. TomTom (http://press.redhat.com/2009/04/28/some-sunshine-on-shadowy-patent-threats-a-reaction-to-microsoft-v-tomtom/)).

The FOSS community reacted with outrage, and noted that they would not stand quietly by.

A few days later, the lawsuit was settled on confidential terms. There is no way to know how much Microsoft’s eagerness for a quick settlement was the product of the negative public reaction to the suit and the prospect of a counterattack. It may be that it will reconsider any further planned attacks on open source. We hope so.

meeples
April 29th, 2009, 08:47 PM
Red Hat posted an article which includes a mention of 3 of Microsoft's patent in dispute, from the TomTom trial.

The full article can be found here: http://press.redhat.com/2009/04/29/fighting-bad-patents-with-good-prior-art/ (http://press.redhat.com/2009/04/29/fighting-bad-patents-with-good-prior-art/)


They also mention in regards to fighting the patent ...

so they are already preparing for a lawsuit?

Screwdriver0815
April 29th, 2009, 08:50 PM
re-thinking about the TomTom thing I came to the following conclusion:

Microsoft wants to explore new branches where they can earn money. So they searched for a navigationsystem company and found out about some patents which they wanted to make the entry into this field easier for them. And then they found TomTom sued them, got what they wanted - thats it.

But Linux itself is only the basic for Desktops and Servers and other systems.

Desktopsystems they already have

serversystems they already have

os for mobilephones they already have

they donīt have a searchmachine like Google, Navigationsystem-stuff, Flashplayer (okay, this silverlight) and cloud computing (but I don't know if they already have it).

So maybe they want to explore a new branche and look for some victims as their old strategy with embrace, extend, extinguish doesn't work anymore. But then the next step is, that a company like Red Hat and Canonical breaks some microsoft-patents with the (for example) cloud computing = the exact field which Microsoft wants to enter and not with the Linux Kernel.

This small difference is the important one.

But Canonical is europe-based and over here we don't have software patents.
And when Red Hat is based in the US, then they are clever and smart enough to check if they violate any patents with their stuff. They also have some agreements with Microsoft regarding virtualisation - so I don't think that Microsoft will go against Red Hat.

Dragonbite
April 29th, 2009, 08:52 PM
The link in the article goes to Post Issue Peer-to-Patent (http://www.post-issue.org/) whose purpose is
Post-Issue Peer to Patent, or simply Post-Issue, seeks to improve the quality of patents by providing a framework for ferreting out weak, non-meritorious patent claims in patents that have issued.

The three patents from the MS vs TT are
Method and system for file system management using a flash-erasable, programmable, read-only memory (http://www.post-issue.org/method-and-system-for-file-system-management-using-a-flash-erasable-programmable-read-only-memory)
(b) Common name space for long and short filenames (http://www.post-issue.org/b-common-name-space-for-long-and-short-filenames)
(a) Common name space for long and short filenames (http://www.post-issue.org/a-common-name-space-for-long-and-short-filenames)

dragos240
April 29th, 2009, 08:54 PM
Well. I really have to say, even microsoft isn't dumb enough to do this. Think of what it would do to microsoft. Microsoft would be very aggressively attacked by server holders, windows servers are very easy to hack, on the other hand, we have BSD on our side, I'd say that most of us would soon find us downloading a BSD like freeBSD, and perhaps using something like solaris as an alternative, or even mac. Although, even though I'm making a point against the topic, I really have to say this is an interesting topic, it's reallysomething to think about. And if microsoft does eventually indend to sue linux, we would definitely all come together to develop a free alternative, an alpha version would come out in 2 days, it would develop into something we would be very proud of. Although many bugs would need to be squashed, some of us that beleive that closed source is not worth it, I agree, and we would use the next best thing (whatever that will be). And thanks for making this topic, It really does excite this sub-forum here, into something than complete drivel.

garythegoth
April 29th, 2009, 09:04 PM
"The quick orange/red firefox jumps over the lazy e"

Except on Linux where the little orange fox got fat and slow, but is now on a diet ;)

Dr. C
April 30th, 2009, 01:47 AM
Well. I really have to say, even microsoft isn't dumb enough to do this. Think of what it would do to microsoft. Microsoft would be very aggressively attacked by server holders, windows servers are very easy to hack, on the other hand, we have BSD on our side, I'd say that most of us would soon find us downloading a BSD like freeBSD, and perhaps using something like solaris as an alternative, or even mac. Although, even though I'm making a point against the topic, I really have to say this is an interesting topic, it's reallysomething to think about. And if microsoft does eventually indend to sue linux, we would definitely all come together to develop a free alternative, an alpha version would come out in 2 days, it would develop into something we would be very proud of. Although many bugs would need to be squashed, some of us that beleive that closed source is not worth it, I agree, and we would use the next best thing (whatever that will be). And thanks for making this topic, It really does excite this sub-forum here, into something than complete drivel.

I very much doubt it will come to this. A frontal patent attack on key parts of GNU / Linux by Microsoft will provoke massive patent retaliation by the OIN against Windows. The OIN has some very nasty e-commerce patents that can cripple Windows. Add to this a massive grass root prior art research campaign against every Microsoft patent and it could well be the downfall of Windows.

dragos240
April 30th, 2009, 01:50 AM
I use links2 anyways.

MaxIBoy
April 30th, 2009, 02:59 AM
In a word, no. There are far too many copies of the Linux source code for this to happen. Microsoft could send people out to arrest Linus and RMS; laws might be passed to shoot Linux users on sight. I don't care. Linux will survive because it doesn't come from any one person or place.




re-thinking about the TomTom thing I came to the following conclusion:

Microsoft wants to explore new branches where they can earn money. So they searched for a navigationsystem company and found out about some patents which they wanted to make the entry into this field easier for them. And then they found TomTom sued them, got what they wanted - thats it.

But Linux itself is only the basic for Desktops and Servers and other systems.

Desktopsystems they already have

serversystems they already have

os for mobilephones they already have

they donīt have a searchmachine like Google, Navigationsystem-stuff, Flashplayer (okay, this silverlight) and cloud computing (but I don't know if they already have it).

So maybe they want to explore a new branche and look for some victims as their old strategy with embrace, extend, extinguish doesn't work anymore. But then the next step is, that a company like Red Hat and Canonical breaks some microsoft-patents with the (for example) cloud computing = the exact field which Microsoft wants to enter and not with the Linux Kernel.

This small difference is the important one.

But Canonical is europe-based and over here we don't have software patents.
And when Red Hat is based in the US, then they are clever and smart enough to check if they violate any patents with their stuff. They also have some agreements with Microsoft regarding virtualisation - so I don't think that Microsoft will go against Red Hat.There is a lot of truth in what you say, and I think I agree.


Microsoft needs to keep up the illusion of not being a monopoly in any market sector. Apple is all the proof they need on the desktop. In the enterprise and server market, they need Linux. This is, if not the main reason, then a major reason why they haven't taken significant legal action against enterprise Linux, only FUD campaigns. Desktop and consumer-device Linux, however, is inconvenient.

Microsoft is going to be filing suit more and more often. I remember, a few months ago, when shareholders of Microsoft complained that the company was spending too much money on expensive research and development, cutting into profits. This is Microsoft's response: why do all the R&D yourself, when you can just wait for some other company to do the R&D for you, then sue the technology off 'em? The small companies take all the risks, you take all the profits. It's risk-free!

Reality check: It's very, very risky (see above monopoly issues.) The Linux ecosystem is so tightly-interwoven, going after desktop Linux could easily have an impact on enterprise Linux as well. They need enterprise Linux to survive, to some extent.

Rainstride
April 30th, 2009, 03:10 AM
Before you flame me saying, "of course not! Linux is so much better than Windows, and there will always be Linux users!" hear me out.

I read on Microsoft's website that there are about 250 Microsoft patents that are currently being used by the Linux kernel. They also said they have no intentions to sue Linux in any way. However, I read this on Microsoft's "Get the Facts" page where they're pretty much flaming Linux (mostly RHEL).

This is clearly an attack against Linux users, and an attempt to eliminate competition. So what I think is that if Linux rises up and becomes a threatening competitor (which is very likely based on our economy and the low to no cost of Linux) Microsoft will begin passing out lawsuits to anything running Linux.

Something you may not know is that patents don't only give the patent holders the right to sue software developers or the companies that distribute the software, but it also enables them to sue regular people like you and me who use the software.

So not only would Microsoft be able to go after the distributions that are partially or fully owned by a company, but it could go after the people who developed the patented portions of Linux and anyone who owns a copy of Linux, used or not.

So even though one may think that Linux is untouchable, or that it's going nowhere but up, there is a possibility that sometime in the future Linux will be illegal.

its nothing but lies just like the last 5 or 10 law suit claims that they have made. there is not one peace of the kernel that microsoft has any claim to (oh noes they own mono!lol.). and even if they where to sue they would lose. there claim is about the same as if they tried to accuse wine of infringement. they just hope to win with lies and FUD.

also, we could always develop our own version of the parts we need.

mamamia88
April 30th, 2009, 03:18 AM
you see even if microsoft did force linux out of competition the source code would be all over the web and the movement would just continue with or without the laws approval the cat is out of the bag so to speak can't put it back in

Screwdriver0815
April 30th, 2009, 07:15 PM
In a word, no. There are far too many copies of the Linux source code for this to happen. Microsoft could send people out to arrest Linus and RMS; laws might be passed to shoot Linux users on sight. I don't care. Linux will survive because it doesn't come from any one person or place.



There is a lot of truth in what you say, and I think I agree.


Microsoft needs to keep up the illusion of not being a monopoly in any market sector. Apple is all the proof they need on the desktop. In the enterprise and server market, they need Linux. This is, if not the main reason, then a major reason why they haven't taken significant legal action against enterprise Linux, only FUD campaigns. Desktop and consumer-device Linux, however, is inconvenient.

Microsoft is going to be filing suit more and more often. I remember, a few months ago, when shareholders of Microsoft complained that the company was spending too much money on expensive research and development, cutting into profits. This is Microsoft's response: why do all the R&D yourself, when you can just wait for some other company to do the R&D for you, then sue the technology off 'em? The small companies take all the risks, you take all the profits. It's risk-free!

Reality check: It's very, very risky (see above monopoly issues.) The Linux ecosystem is so tightly-interwoven, going after desktop Linux could easily have an impact on enterprise Linux as well. They need enterprise Linux to survive, to some extent.

I fully agree.

A company needs competition (even when it is tiny like nothing) because otherwise they don't know in which direction they should go on the market. And I think, Microsoft is not so stupid that they did not realise that.

For the servers it is like stated before: the source code of Linux is all around the world. If Microsoft would kill the Linux server, then a company like IBM or other big server manufacturer could grab the source code and build their own OS. Because the market shows: most of the server companies have Linux servers and I am sure that they want the system like it is.

And Microsoft also know: most of the Linux-Desktop users use Linux because they have decided informed to use it and do not use it accidently.
So if they would kick the Desktop-Linux out of the market, then they would win nothing because the Linux-users would not automaticly use Windows. To win 2 more percent marketshare on this way is way too risky and too expensive compared to the possible outcome.

They did not sign these agreements with Novell and Red Hat without reason. Just because the customers wanted it.

Microsoft would destroy themselves if they would try to destroy Linux or open source in general.

krazymir
May 10th, 2009, 11:25 PM
Well, Microsoft uses even more patented by third party vendors pieces of software in Windows, so if we can say that Linux is in danger of legal charges - Windows is in much greater danger. :)

Corelogik
May 11th, 2009, 12:33 AM
This is all Microsoft FUD. They have no patents on Linux or F/OSS technology. They are going after companies that they percieve as smaller/weaker to extort money from them to keep their behemoth barge afloat.

It is just as much crap now as it was when they approached Novell. Companies settle because they do not have the finacial power to fight Microsoft.

Microsoft is in decline, they have proven time and again that they cannot innovate their way out of a paperbag. The only thing that keeps them in business and a contender is their legacy. Apps/Compatibility and corporate inertia.

Microsoft has long had a tradition of "embrace and extend". They buy up or into companies in areas they want to be in and then extend them using Microsoft's proprietary technology to lock people into it. They cannot buy out/into F/OSS or Linux so they try to play the patent game instead.

It gets them access to the patents and methodology that they want, and make a chunk of change on the side. It also has the side effect of scaring the sheeple into not using Linux or F/OSS,..

I cannot wait for the day when MS is gone or at the least cut very much down to size.

bandgeek
May 11th, 2009, 01:42 AM
Read this: http://mail.nl.linux.org/humorix/2001-04/msg00001.html

return 0 :)

JC Cheloven
May 11th, 2009, 02:02 AM
This is unlikely. Anyway, some random thoughts:

In that case, I would donate 1/6 of my monthly income to the fsf or any other society fighting in the courts against m$.

Application of antitrust laws should be much more harder in the usa. The mere existence of m$ is a shame.

Patents initially had a social sense and benefit (giving the inventor guarantee of "owning" his invention for 20 years, but passing it to general profit afterwards). But as time passes, it only serve to the interest of a few.

I hate how my freedom is threatened everyday, from every angle.

pastalavista
May 11th, 2009, 02:04 AM
Tell me, what is there to patent? If they (M$) create a new device, then they can patent it. I believe software should fall under Copyright laws, not Patent. It's like music... not a musical instrument. And Copyright laws are capitalistic bull***t IMO. Once the public hears it, they have the right to sing it, if not sell it.

Dragonbite
May 11th, 2009, 02:26 AM
Tell me, what is there to patent? If they (M$) create a new device, then they can patent it. I believe software should fall under Copyright laws, not Patent. It's like music... not a musical instrument. And Copyright laws are capitalistic bull***t IMO. Once the public hears it, they have the right to sing it, if not sell it.

They can sing it, they just cannot sing it and make money from somebody else's song without permission. That is my understanding.

pastalavista
May 11th, 2009, 03:47 AM
They can sing it, they just cannot sing it and make money from somebody else's song without permission. That is my understanding.

It isn't the song that is making the money for the non-copyright holder. It's the performance. Does Microsoft pay royalties to Apple for every Zune they sell? I doubt it.

logos34
May 11th, 2009, 04:00 AM
+1 for this being a bunch of Microsoft FUD. They can huff and puff all they want, and darkly hint at legal action, but I doubt it'll amount to anything. Besides, could they enforce it globally? A lot of countries do not recognize software patents