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Old Pink
November 28th, 2006, 05:48 PM
I recently took it upon myself to contact Microsoft regarding their recent claims of patent infringement by Linux.

I posed as a Fedora Core user, who was dual booting with XP. This way I didn't attract attention to Ubuntu, and I got information regarding the most common situation, a dual-boot. In reality, I have only one operating system, Ubuntu.

My email to Microsoft:
Hi there,

I've recently started using Fedora Core 6 Linux on my home setup alongside my current Windows configuration. I have to admit, I prefer Linux and if it wasn't for my games I'd remove Windows right away, but recent news has made me think otherwise.

I've read on many forums and news sites that you plan to sue Linux users and Linux distributors as part of a patent infringement? I've heard only SUSE Linux is safe from your suing schemes, but SUSE Linux simply isn't right for my needs.

All I'm wondering is what patents exactly have Linux infringed upon, how does this affect the future of the Linux kernel and more importantly how does this effect the end-user of Linux?

Thanks for your time,
MattMicrosoft's first response:
Dear Matt,

Thank you for contacting us with your query related to Fedore Core 6 Linux patent.

Due to the nature of your enquiry, it has not been possible for me to answer your question. Therefore, I have taken this opportunity to escalate your query to my Head Office for assistance. Please be assured that once I have received a response, I will relay the relevant information to you.

Many thanks for contacting us.

Kind Regards,

GEETHA SHIVAKUMAR

Customer Service Professional
Microsoft Customer ServicesAnd Microsoft's final response:
Good afternoon Matt,

I canít give you specifics concerning this. Your right by saying there is a lot of information floating around the web about this particular issue. I have a statement below from our legal team which unfortunately doesnít give much detail. At this moment I have no further detail to pass on.

We have been clear since announcements we made in November 2003 that preference is to license technology (rather than litigate). We would hope that end user would recognize the value of the IP in software and the value of doing business with companies (like Novell) that provide this coverage to them. As far as the specific patents, our position is that it isnít helpful for companies to say who or what is infringing and/or go through a full patent portfolio evaluating independent products Ė rather Microsoft, in an industry standard way, works individually with companies (like it did with Novell) to read broad agreements that benefit companies and their customers. Additionally, Microsoft has entered into multiple license agreements of this type including Toshiba, Symbian and others.

Best Regards

Mat Williams

UK Response Management TeamSo, from this I gather they're either not telling us what exactly Linux has infringed upon, or they don't know themselves. Also, there's a slight possibility Novell was bribed? :rolleyes:

Anyway, I'm just providing the facts. What do you all think of this? :)

civilian
November 28th, 2006, 06:03 PM
Wow great work its great that someone thoutht of this. As simple as it seems I just wouldn'tve thought of doing this. It seems like Microsoft is either not sure of their position or they are hiding it preparing a hit. I guess they never want to give too much information as it does spread fast on the internet. But yeah Novell might have in but only the future can tell us that.

OffHand
November 28th, 2006, 06:17 PM
It's covered by one word (actually 3 but what the hell): FUD

insane_alien
November 28th, 2006, 07:01 PM
hmm, that statement from the legal team has the feel of "linux infringes on our IP because we say it does. just because nobody even knows if there is infringing code doesn't mean we can't sue people over it"

userundefine
November 28th, 2006, 07:17 PM
The Linux Action Show podcast is supposed to have a Novell rep and an MS rep on their show next week to get some questions answered.

JAPrufrock
November 28th, 2006, 07:55 PM
Yeah, it's FUD, but nice job Old Pink!!

smoker
November 28th, 2006, 10:12 PM
As far as the specific patents, our position is that it isnít helpful for companies to say who or what is infringing

isn't this the same of slander, accusing others of illegality? why don't the linux distro people (cept novell of course) get together a court action against ms to either put-up or shut-up, and get this issue of FUD dealt with once and for all?

good idea, Old Pink :-D

Old Pink
November 29th, 2006, 12:35 AM
Stupid Microsoft and their FUD. I bet there was an office buzz when my email arrived, "Look! A linux user is getting worried!" Haha :)

I'll never go back to Windows.

Dual Cortex
November 29th, 2006, 12:40 AM
They spelled Fedora wrong!

Turtle.net
November 29th, 2006, 02:32 AM
For me this is only intox. They do not plan to sue anyone. They just want to afraid the people who are considering giving a try to linux instead of upgrading from XP to Vista. In other words the message above can be translated into "Just in case, you should stick with Microsoft"

msjulie
November 29th, 2006, 04:47 AM
I think you folks have hit on many aspects of this.

Most typical users may not even know there are good alternatives out there.

I'd imagine if the MS could sue, they would be on the heals of every distro site.

It would use its ability to force--as they did Novell, etc. into agreements.

Notice that MS stated that they would prefer that things be 'licensed.'

Yeah, they don't want people to own anything, don't change it, don't improve it--we'll do it for you...for a price. Oh, you want to do it--okay...for a price.

I guess that is their right. It is their product.

I'm no expert, but it appears that MS will be hard pressed to make a case against Linux. That might not stop them from trying though.

Julie

addicted68098
November 29th, 2006, 04:57 AM
So, anyone who uses an operating system that is not Linux is breaking the law, amazing!

StarsAndBars14
November 29th, 2006, 05:28 AM
Still dodging the question, I see.

They can come sue me any time they want. :D

3rdalbum
November 29th, 2006, 05:30 AM
I bet all the Microsoft employees were scratching their heads and asking eachother "Who runs an operating system named after a tennis player?"

vayu
November 29th, 2006, 05:57 AM
How'd you get an email address that someone was actually at?

DC@DR
November 29th, 2006, 07:02 AM
They spelled Fedora wrong!

Hahaha, damn Micro$uck :mrgreen:

jpkotta
November 29th, 2006, 08:39 AM
See, the thing with patents is they're available for all to see. That was the point of the patent system - rather than keeping trade secrets you got a temporary monopoly and everyone could see how your invention worked. In theory, it is a simple matter of looking at all the patents Microsoft has, and looking at all the ideas being used in the kernel, and finding matches. There is absolutely no need for Microsoft to show their code. All they have to do is say, "Linux infringes on patents #1, #2, and #3, which we own. It's implemented right there in this piece of code." The problem is, it is far different to claim infringement than to prove it in court. It is much more effective to have the fog FUD clouding people's minds.

As for their response, everyone infringes on everyone's patents these days. You have two general strategies to use your patents effectively. Patent trolls buy patents and look for those who infringe and sue them. More legitimate companies will just keep a nuclear stockpile as a deterrent to anyone who claims infringement (if you sue us, we'll sue you). Microsoft is doing a bit of mild trolling here.

purdy hate machine
November 29th, 2006, 08:57 AM
From a legal point of view I would say thatís a fairly predictable response given that you are an unknown party. Consider yourself lucky you got any answer at all.

Old Pink
November 29th, 2006, 09:09 AM
From a legal point of view I would say that’s a fairly predictable response given that you are an unknown party. Consider yourself lucky you got any answer at all.Yeah, I agree with that. :)

And I laughed at "Fedore" to, but to be fair it was just an off-the-street, unqualified Microsoft support staff member. :rolleyes:

Can a mod please change the title of this to "Microsoft speak on Linux's patent infringement" or something similar? Thanks. :)

Old Pink
November 29th, 2006, 05:06 PM
It's covered by one word (actually 3 but what the hell): FUD

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

Or, in the case of SUSE... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish

Old Pink
December 4th, 2006, 08:46 PM
Can a mod please change the title of this to "Microsoft speak on Linux's patent infringement" or something similar? Thanks. :)

Any time soon? :rolleyes:

iPower
December 4th, 2006, 08:51 PM
im glad that none of my money has gone to microsoft

sanderella
December 4th, 2006, 10:18 PM
For me this is only intox. They do not plan to sue anyone. They just want to afraid the people who are considering giving a try to linux instead of upgrading from XP to Vista. In other words the message above can be translated into "Just in case, you should stick with Microsoft"

In other words, they are sabre-rattling. They just want to scare people, and they don't want to forewarn anyone so that they can pick on individual companies to sue. If all linux folk got together in one corporation like microstuffed we would be a powerful body. However, linux people are very individualistic....