Fox news reported yesterday on the new Microsoft legal spin to Linux users.
In essence, if you can’t own another company’s technology, all you have to do is make significant numbers of potential customers afraid of it. It’s like negative political campaigns: liking me, or disliking all competition, gets the same result. The new tool on the business landscape is that ~winning~ a legal suit is irrelevant these days. 90% of the coercion is done by ~threatening~ a law suit.
Microsoft needed one cooperative Linux distributor to funnel everybody toward. Then down the road, they will buy that distribution. Then choosing Linux or Microsoft is irrelevant – Microsoft will profit either way. Notice Microsoft paid more money in this current deal, so they’re scheming something. The problem has been that Linux licensing prevents them from “buying a distribution”. So.. instead they let them all live, but scare everybody away from all others.
Specific interpretations of article quotes:
“Microsoft says it has patent rights to some of the technology in Linux, although it has never said exactly what those rights might be or what patents are involved. Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said if customers bought Linux from anyone but Novell, they could face trouble.”
“If a customer says, ‘Look, do we have liability for the use of your patented work?’ Essentially, if you’re using non-SUSE Linux, then I’d say the answer is yes,” Ballmer told eWeek.com recently, referring to the Linux system sold by Novell.
In other words, scare tactics – FUD. Winning a legal case doesn’t matter or being right doesn’t matter. I just hint and make innuendos and very few companies will risk the possibility of a suit. Point: There is no “owner” of Linux, so you go after the users of Linux. A big precedence in this area was set 3 years ago by an industrial control computer company. And then the Blackberry issue of a year ago exercised the same type of legal issues. Microsoft will be the third “big news” company to do this tactic.
“I suspect that (customers) will take that issue up with their distributor,” Ballmer said, adding that if customers considered doing a direct download of a non-SUSE Linux version, “they’ll think twice about that.”
In other words,
In case you don’t know what to do, let me tell you: tell your distributor to make a deal with Microsoft. Red Hat is a big enough service business to maybe do it to protect revenues. Mandriva will not because the European Union hates Microsoft and the French aren’t fond toward America. Distributions without commercial business implicaitons like Knoppix will always be around because Microsoft only cares about the big company customers, which are defecting right and left to Linux.
Switch to Mandriva 2007.0 Linux. They finally got their act back together, went back to their roots, and are distributing the full distribution free again (4 CDs or DVD).