Shuttleworth: Microsoft Does Not Want War

Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical, which maintains the Ubuntu desktop Linux distribution, said he doubts Microsoft would file a suit against a free software developer unless the software giant wants "war."

At the end of a session at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention here on July 24, where Shuttleworth discussed the emerging practice of mixing agile development methods with community development efforts, Shuttleworth responded to a question about the possibility of Microsoft making patent claims against open-source code by saying: "I don't believe Microsoft will file suit against free software developers. It would be tantamount to declaring nuclear war. ... And I can afford it."

Shuttleworth was responding to a question about how developers could protect themselves against patent and intellectual property issues when it comes to contributing code to open-source projects. He initially said, "GPL V3 is a good solution ...". But pressed on the threat regarding Microsoft, Shuttleworth said he does not think the software giant would pursue a claim.

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(boho said @ #1.2)

You seem to have a short memory, Microsoft money was behind the SCO suit (a patent troll) that dragged on for years (yes, a Microsoft tactic! ) hacking off many open source people. Bill Gates has written in his books, when young, how he searched in dustbins to look at other people's code!

Whatever Steve Ballmer might think (flying chairs and all), Microsoft jackboot days are over, their products are on the slide, they have many unhappy and even disgruntled employees (Read Mini-Microsoft). With innovative companies springing up all over, Microsoft have become what Bill Gates most feared... "becoming another IBM" :laugh:

Yet IBM is still making billions and in still seen as a giant in the industry. So being another IBM looks pretty good to me.

(GP007 said @ #1.3)
Yet IBM is still making billions and in still seen as a giant in the industry. So being another IBM looks pretty good to me.

And IBM supplied machines to Nazis to keep track of the "prisoners".

(Mike Frett said @ #1.4)

And IBM supplied machines to Nazis to keep track of the "prisoners".

And Hitler designed the VW Beetle. Live in the past much?

(39 Thieves said @ #1.5)

And Hitler designed the VW Beetle. Live in the past much?

Yeah, and the Nazis had pieces of flair, you know. That they made the Jews wear.

(Mike Frett said @ #1.4)

And IBM supplied machines to Nazis to keep track of the "prisoners".

And they didn't do a good enough job.

It is not only code, which of course Microsoft probably cannot provide, that can serve as the basis for a patent lawsuit. Because America recognises software 'idea' patents, Microsoft could sue on that basis. This would not likely have much effect on Linux because most of the world does not recognise these 'idea' patents.

But of course Microsoft have been claiming that Linux does violate some of their 'idea' patents. Ballmer himself a few months ago made a rather threatening announcement in London (because if he'd done it in America, he'd have been open to another sort of lawsuit). He did this and Microsoft have been doing this in various other ways to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about Linux among corporate clients. Shuttleworth's strong words here are an impressive defensive move because they represent someone with the drive and the cash to take on Microsoft.

Ahhh, the flavor of the week heard from again, who cares? I like Ubuntu and I appreciate what Shuttleworth is doing, but while he can financially afford the war I don't think he could afford what it would do to his develoment efforts (which would be greatly slowed if not stalled during a lengthy legal battle).

That said, MS should just put up any code they think is in violation, threats are just boring at this point.

(Budious said @ #5.1)
They care about it in the Enterprise market... they could care less about the marginal desktop usage.

More correctly on the server, but given that Solaris 11 will be based on 100% opensource code, the reason for Linux existing will be gone. Symbian is going to be opensourced soon - the purpose of Linux on embedded devices? pretty much gone.

(kaiwai said @ #5.2)
More correctly on the server, but given that Solaris 11 will be based on 100% opensource code, the reason for Linux existing will be gone. Symbian is going to be opensourced soon - the purpose of Linux on embedded devices? pretty much gone.

Or then again, what would be the point of both symbian and solaris?

(ichi said @ #5.3)

Or then again, what would be the point of both symbian and solaris? :happy:

A functional, supportable product, for starters...

(39 Thieves said @ #5.4)
A functional, supportable product, for starters...

Sure, but I meant the point over using linux

(39 Thieves said @ #5.6)

And that's what I gave you in response to that question. :D

I guess we could get in a loop :P

Jokes aside: what would make those products any more functional or supportable than redhat and the likes?

(ichi said @ #5.7)
I guess we could get in a loop :P

Speaking of loops, both solaris & symbian wouldn't get to that point without linux being there first. So yeah in a way, linux kinda forced them to become what they're becoming.

Which, I'm hoping would only mean a mad attempt on linux's side to beat them again. And so the loop begins anew.

I'm not sure where microsoft is in the equation though..

(GreenMartian said @ #5.8)

Speaking of loops, both solaris & symbian wouldn't get to that point without linux being there first. So yeah in a way, linux kinda forced them to become what they're becoming.

Which, I'm hoping would only mean a mad attempt on linux's side to beat them again. And so the loop begins anew.

I'm not sure where microsoft is in the equation though..

The only way linux has ever beaten Solaris was in terms of driver availability and supported hardware. And I suppose...price.

(39 Thieves said @ #5.9)
The only way linux has ever beaten Solaris was in terms of driver availability and supported hardware. And I suppose...price.

And license, but that's exactly the point: as other operating systems catch up with linux' strengths, linux must improve in those areas where others excel or else it'll eventually fall behind.

Microsoft's Ballmer made comments a year or two ago about linux patent cruft..to this day..Has Ballmer proved ANY of it? MS can STFU.

Oh dear. This really didn't need to happen right now. Just when I thought it had blown over and everyone was more-or-less getting along. *sigh*

(GZT said @ #7)
Oh dear. This really didn't need to happen right now. Just when I thought it had blown over and everyone was more-or-less getting along. *sigh*

did you read the article?

God the linux folks are still going on and on about this? Microsoft doesn't even care. They said some stuff and then promptly forgot about it while the linux community has been freaking out ever since. Microsoft didn't even take it seriously.

Ummm.... Duh.

He was asked about it, so he answered. Obviously if people are asking, there is enough "fear" and "uncertainty" about whether Microsoft would act on their voiced threats. That makes people "doubt" whether Linux is a viable platform for their business to deploy.

Now, if only there was a term for this environment of "fear, uncertainty and doubt" that Microsoft has cultivated...

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