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posted by n1 on Saturday March 12 2016, @05:05AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the enemy-within dept.

Simon Phipps comments on Microsoft's latest antics in regards to open source. Specifically, while the public is distracted by show, Microsoft is shaking down the Android/Linux and GNU/Linux communities for patent licenses.

Phipps asserts that it's time for them to put up or shut up by either joining the OIN or admitting that they can't be trusted in the open source community they now claim to love.

Roy Schestowitz has some harsher words on the same topic, noting that the media is ignoring malicious actions in favor of paying attention to the public relations campaign.

While the OIN cannot protect against NPE's aka patent trolls, it is created for just this kind of situation and choosing to join -- or not -- sends a very clear message about their intentions towards the community.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @05:17AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @05:17AM (#317281)

    When they have MS Office running on Linux, offered at the same price as the Windows products.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by fishybell on Saturday March 12 2016, @05:29AM

      by fishybell (3156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 12 2016, @05:29AM (#317285)

      I pray that day never comes. I would rather them be either forced to give it away to compete with LibreOffice or just fold and LibreOffice win by default.

      I can dream, can't I?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @02:17PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @02:17PM (#317366)

        Free in two senses of the word are huge advantages, plus there is home field advantage (most of MS' employees need to keep up with developments in the Windows/.NET stack and toolchain, leaving less time for Linux).

        OTOH UX has historically been a weakness for open source communities, particularly moving across generations as requirements change.

    • (Score: 2) by jasassin on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:19AM

      by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:19AM (#317294) Journal

      I would guess MS released SQL on Linux as an attempt to bring Oracle down, since Oracle runs on Linux. I'm not sure why they released Office on Mac and not also Linux. I could understand Windows only Office, but why Mac Office and no Linux version? Perceived market share? Software patents are bullshit. How far back does this software patent bullshit go? Who applied for the first software patent? Did anyone question it or try to fight it? Patent trolls really suck.

      --
      jasassin@gmail.com Key fingerprint = 0644 173D 8EED AB73 C2A6 B363 8A70 579B B6A7 02CA
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @07:05AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @07:05AM (#317299)

        MS Office has been on Mac for a very long time, since 1985. In the past some even said the Mac version was better than the Windows version (better UI etc). But apparently this has changed in recent years.

        See also: http://www.wired.com/2009/08/dayintech_0806/ [wired.com]

        In a remarkable feat of negotiating legerdemain, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs got needed cash — in return for non-voting shares — and an assurance that Microsoft would support Office for the Mac for five years. Apple agreed to drop a long-running lawsuit in which they alleged Microsoft copied the look and feel of the Mac OS for Windows and to make Internet Explorer the default browser on its computers — but not the only choice.

        And not so long after that the "new" OS X gained significant marketshare thus making Office on the Mac actually worthwhile from a business perspective - for customers and Microsoft.

        In contrast the Desktop Linux's share has stayed low. To me it's because the Desktop Linux developers have kept making bad moves that have ensured they have a tiny marketshare that's irrelevant to most businesses. The fanboys will say that's untrue and false, but if things were so "insanely great" why those major forks every now and then- e.g. Mint, MATE etc? They keep going in bad directions and often at bad times (e.g. when they had a good opportunity to gain share vs Vista, Metro, Microsoft Office's Ribbon etc). Microsoft regularly goes in bad directions too but with their market share and pile of cash they can afford to.

        If you want to gain share you have to execute more like Apple. Not make so many bad or pointless decisions like what Team Ubuntu or Team Firefox did.

    • (Score: 1) by Demose on Saturday March 12 2016, @03:08PM

      by Demose (6067) on Saturday March 12 2016, @03:08PM (#317370)

      Microsoft has ported Office to other platforms before, so wake me up when they port Direct X.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @05:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @05:23PM (#317388)

      Yeah, wake me up when that happens too. I'll clap once then go back to ignoring it in favor of open source software.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by aristarchus on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:07AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:07AM (#317290) Journal

    There is the parable of the scorpion and the frog. You may have heard it. Once upon a time, a scorpion wanted to cross a stream, but scorpions cannot swim. A frog passed by, and the scorpion accosted him, saying, "Brother Frog, could you aid me in crossing this stream? You see, I cannot swim, but everyone knows you are an expert in the water. Let me ride on your back to the other side, please?" The frog replied immediately: "No way! If I let you ride upon my back, you will sting me with your stinger, and I would die!" The scorpion demured. "But that would be very foolish on my part, because if you die, I would drown as well! I promise I won't sting you." The frog thought about it, and had to admit that as a rational maximizer of self-interest, the scorpion could not reasonably sting him. So he said, "Alright, hop onto my back." And they set off across the stream. Halfway across, the scorpion stings the frog. With his dying breaths, the frog asks, "Why? Do you not realized you have just killed us both?" "I know." said the scorpion, "but I am a scorpion, and stinging things is what I do. It is my nature and I cannot deny it."

    A similar story was related in Quentin Tarantino's Natural Born Killers. A Native American woman finds a snake that stayed out too late in the season, and was immobilized by the cold on a fall day. The woman took pity on the near frozen reptile, and placed it inside her shirt to warm the poor creature. As soon as the snake had somewhat revived, it bit the woman, fatally, on her chest. She asks the snake, "Why have you done this, do you not realize that I was saving your life? Now both of us will die!" The snake replied, "I am a snake. What did you think was going to happen?"

    And so now, the same old story plays itself out yet again. There was a chameleon, and one day a Microsoft came and said, "Could you help me get into open source software?" And then the Microsoft went to a Hat that was red, and made the same request. And then there was a house of sticks, called Debian, and the sticks were fastened together by a systemd, and, and,... Well, it does not end well for anybody. But what did you expect? Moral of the story: Beware talking poisonous corporations.

    --
    Die Republikkkanische Partei isst die weissvolken partei.
    • (Score: 1, Troll) by Tork on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:14AM

      by Tork (3914) on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:14AM (#317293)
      Quoting Star Trek Voyager? Really?!
      --
      Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aristarchus on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:26AM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:26AM (#317295) Journal

        I forgot to specify that the Microsoft said to its victims, "I promise I won't sue you for patent violations, because that would kill us both, and not be in my own interests!" And the chameleon thought about it, and, well, here we are at the end of the story.

        --
        Die Republikkkanische Partei isst die weissvolken partei.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bitstream on Saturday March 12 2016, @12:32PM

          by bitstream (6144) on Saturday March 12 2016, @12:32PM (#317347) Journal

          Microsoft asked if it could donate some software to the the open source community and get involved and promised to not sue. The community took their software and engagement. But when the entanglement go to it's height. The lawyers and the organization wreckers got marching orders. The community asked why? and the Microsoft said it's in our best interest.

          Don't socialize with the snake nor accept the poison gifts.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:12AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:12AM (#317292)

    Simon has written more over at his personal blog. He asks people to join him in answering every M$ announcement related to open source with “But have they joined OIN yet? [webmink.com]” until they actually do. M$ can’t expect to carry on patent shakedowns and also be respected as an open source peer.

    Maybe joining OIN would work, but I'd rather seen M$ fold financially and their remaining assets seized. Nothing they have is needed or even advantageous to open source or free software. The world is better off without them. Certainly technology would be much further advanced. The decades of damage they have done to the software industry in general cannot be undone quickly or easily, even if they were to start in earnest, which they haven't. But that complaint aside, I agree with Simon. The only way they can show that they are there to work with open source rather than against it would be to join the OIN.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bitstream on Saturday March 12 2016, @09:14AM

      by bitstream (6144) on Saturday March 12 2016, @09:14AM (#317315) Journal

      They can't be trusted, period. One should make everything hard for Microsoft. Like when people discovered they could crash the MS-Windows reader by adding "begin 644" at the end of their messages.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @02:04PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @02:04PM (#317363)

        So, you're saying it's OK to deploy malware, so long as it's on MS Windows?

        MS has been evil and incompetent at creating OSs since before it rebranded a DOS it purchased and screwed the DEVELOPER, DEVELOPER, DEVELOPER out of his fair share in their deal with IBM.

        When people ask why I don't help them fix their "windows computers", even though I have the know-how, I always respond: Friends don't let Friends run Microsoft.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @10:10PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @10:10PM (#317443)

          So, you're saying it's OK to deploy malware, so long as it's MS Windows?

          FTFY! Especially Windows 10! But if everyone were jumping off a bridge, that still, um, does not make it right, or even a smart thing to do.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:55AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:55AM (#317298) Journal

    I admit to being a relative newcomer to Nix-ish systems, having only gotten involved with Linux somewhere around 1995, but I've never heard of OIN.

    Reading the web page regarding Linux [openinventionnetwork.com] doesn't give me a lot of comfort. Exceptions for this, exceptions for that, all the patents in a pool. Patents In Linux. Trusted to a Pool. A pool full of lawyers no doubt.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by canopic jug on Saturday March 12 2016, @09:11AM

      by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 12 2016, @09:11AM (#317314) Journal

      OIN helps in this particular case since M$ is an established software patent abuser, but ...

      As mentioned, OIN does not and cannot do anything to fight patent trolls. In general, it simply perpetuates the problem of software patents and because it mostly generates some empty feel-good actions lessens the efforts at the root of the problem which is the software patents themselves. However, in a few unusual, specific cases it can help. This case is one of those. Companies that have lots of products usually end up cross-licensing patents with competitors to avoid large and unnecessary expenditures through lawsuits. What joining the OIN does is give most of the same benefits of protection that cross-licensing would give but to the whole FOSS community. It would show that M$ is in seriously and not just biding its time for an opportunity to stab the community.

      At the end of the day, OIN does nothing to address the problem of software patents themselves. Even though in this specific case it would help, probably very much, I see OIN as trying to follow the wrong strategy overall.

      --
      Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
      • (Score: 2) by bitstream on Saturday March 12 2016, @12:36PM

        by bitstream (6144) on Saturday March 12 2016, @12:36PM (#317348) Journal

        Stab Microsoft right away? attack is the best defense..

        Any suggestions on how to make their existence hard?

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @03:27PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @03:27PM (#317373)

          RICO

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Saturday March 12 2016, @07:24PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 12 2016, @07:24PM (#317417) Journal

        It would show that M$ is in seriously and not just biding its time for an opportunity to stab the community.

        Is it legally binding, and non-revokable?

        Because if its not, it sounds like a device to get more patented code into linux, leaving the door open for another SCO style patent attack many years later.

        As long as there are ways that these companies can enter some software patents in the OIN pool and hold others out, It seems sort of risky. Quietly slip a reserved patent into your implementation of a shared software, then lower the boom 4 years later.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @09:43AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @09:43AM (#317322)

    I hope nobody's holding breath while waiting for it to happen.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt#Microsoft [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by jon3k on Saturday March 12 2016, @02:33PM

    by jon3k (3718) on Saturday March 12 2016, @02:33PM (#317368)

    I hate Microsoft as much as the next guy, but acting like protecting your intellectual property and supporting open source are somehow mutually exclusive is just ignorant.

    • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @05:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @05:24PM (#317389)

      Why is this marked as Troll?
      This is an opinion, not a troll. you can't just mark everything you disagree with as troll.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:32PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @06:32PM (#317400)

      To be fair, it is a rather blatant paraphrasing of a well-known trolling point used by Micro$oft shills going back to the early days of the now defunct Groklaw [groklaw.net]. For that alone, it ought to be scored at -1 whether it was posted on purpose or out of sheer ignorance.

      Then it tries to obfuscate and confuse the issues by going on about "intellectual property" while everyone else is talking about patents and in particular software patents [dwheeler.com]. H's another known trolling move.

      Next, for now, Micro$oft has been keeping fairly secret about the specific patents that it has been threatening companies with. Hence some of the motivation for pursuing action under the R.I.C.O. Act as suggested above.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @07:08PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @07:08PM (#317409)

    take action against their employees (starting with the top), wherever they may dare to turn up in public.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @08:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12 2016, @08:22PM (#317426)

    So who are Phipps and Schestowitz anyway? They sound like a vaudeville act.