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Techworld Staff

Linux royalties

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I saw something and wondered.

It was from this and went: "While SCO waits for the results of its bid to sue the industry for Linux royalties" and caused me to reflect about Microsoft and Linux. Microsoft reportedly funded SCO's Linux law suit against IBM. It has agreed to pay Novell over $400 million out of which Novell will pay up to $40 million over five years to prevent Novell SuSE Linux customers being sued by Microsoft for unauthorised Microsoft intellectual property use. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has reportedly said he's willing to do a similar deal with Red Hat.

Do we detect a pattern here? Is Microsoft getting rattled by Linux? Is Microsoft worried about the Oracle re-use of Red Hat Linux? (This probably helped Novell cosy up to Microsoft.) What happens if Sun does move Solaris to a GPL open source arrangement, as it has done with Java?

The Microsoft-promulgated idea that open source software can't be free is being criticised by Samba and by Sun's Jonathan Schwartz.

Microsoft is FUD'ing Linux with a vengeance. If it has a strong legal case for Linux using its IP in an unauthorised way then go to court. Don't do it through proxies like SCO. Don't do it by paying Novell at least $9 for every dollar it shells out in royalty payments to you. Talk about seemingly bribing your way to have a potential IP violator support your position. It reminds me of the behaviour a bully exhibits.

Here is an extract from a UK government-supported anti-bullying site:-

"Some of the tell tale signs of a person who bullies others include:
- They deal with their own fears and troubles by showing off and acting tough
- They sometimes have problems in their school or family life and take it out on others
- They pick fights first so no-one can pick a fight with them."

Unfortunately a UK school head can exclude bullies from school. Not so in real life where bullying companies need only fear the law. When they can buy the world's best lawyers their ability to carry on doing what they are being criticised for is unrivalled. Eventually though, they are bought to heel.

Microsoft is just possibly the single most hated company in the IT world. It has developed hundreds of great products but the way it carries on sometimes makes you forget that and just wish the noisy, vainglorious, bumptious company would go away, BSOD it.


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