Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
While reading through srlinuxx's news posts, I was eventually led to Mary Jo Foley's (MJF) article regarding MS-Novell deal.
Microsoft-Novell: What a long, strange year it’s been
The basic gist is that MS has been doing their usual patent FUD, while Novell is sprouting how wonderful interoperability is. Same agreement, two different views. Now that's odd. Typically, you'd expect all parties involved in an agreement to be singing the same tune.
So what's going on here?
Well, someone points out the obvious. This is TechExec2's post in MJF's article feedback:
VERDICT: Microsoft's cynical patent FUD campaign is a DISMAL FAILURE
Let's be honest here. Microsoft doesn't want to "interoperate" with Linux. Microsoft wants to EMBRACE AND DESTROY Linux. Fortunately, as is often the case when Microsoft gives the "bear hug of death" and then tries to stab the victim in the back, they often miss. This case is no different.
From Microsoft's press release:
"...Having exceeded their original business targets, the companies continue to see strong demand for interoperability and intellectual property (IP) peace of mind..."
So... they are selling "peace of mind", huh. This is a tacit admission that the campaign is about fear, not business and legal reality.
Major corporations are NOT buying into Microsoft's patent FUD
Microsoft claims success and cites 30 companies. Where are the major corporations? General Electric? Proctor and Gamble? Citicorp? Bank of America? The rest of the "Fortune 500"? The fact that major corporations are not buying into this tells you everything you need to know.
Linux Distros are NOT buying into Microsoft's patent FUD
In the first year, Microsoft has signed up only four Linux distros:
1. Novell - Desperate for the cash they received from Microsoft in the deal.
2. Xandros - A small commercial Linux distro.
3. Linspire - A small commercial Linux distro.
4. TurboLinux - A small commercial Linux distro.
Meanwhile, two very large Linux distros, RedHat and Ubuntu, have already publicly said they are not going to sign patent deals with Microsoft. I applaud and cheer them. Theirs is the correct response to Microsoft's cynical patent FUD campaign.
This is about FEAR, not "interoperability"
And, the "interoperability lab"? This is just PR spin. Eight staffers and only 2,500 square feet? Microsoft is sending four of the "best and brightest" they have? Baloney!
For Microsoft-Novell lab, eight is enough
Pride goeth before the fall. Microsoft's cynical patent FUD (Fear-Uncertainty-Doubt) campaign against Linux is a DISMAL FAILURE.
Its not a failure...Its a joke. Just like the rest of the nonsense they've tried since the late 1990s. (When they saw opensource as becoming a major threat to their fundamental business model).
Here's another joke:
OpenXML/ODF Translator Add-in for Office project.
Notice MS's contribution?
"Funding, Architectural & Technical Guidance and Project co-coordination"
Can someone please explain what EXACTLY (details and specifics please) Microsoft contributes to this project? Do they submit any code related contributions? Or do they just hire third-parties like they usually do?
Instead of writing a damn plug-in that requires one to need MS Office, why not offer a multi-platform standalone application that reads (not edit/save), displays (for before and after comparison), and converts? Oh that's right, silly me! It won't force people into a corner such that they must need MS Office!
But of course, MS's vision for "interoperability" has many facets. One includes...
Steve Ballmer: "I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows"
Let's call MS's "interoperability" campaign what it really is. Its a farce of half-hearted attempts to LOOK like they're doing something (for their Press Releases, EU, and public), but not really achieving anything substantial if they don't see or get any direct benefit from it. When it comes to standards, it must be standards made by them, that they control and lead. (Which means they control the tempo of when new features and changes are released...They'll be your friend now, simply out of convenience to them).
Take for example, their Silverlight solution. They're only helping Novell with Moonlight on Linux so they can use their solution to crush their real target...Adobe's Flash.
Their thinking of standards is already well documented in Halloween documents 1 and 2. Its basically summarized as this: extend existing protocols and develop new protocols.
The Samba project has demonstrated that we do NOT need Microsoft involvement, input, or their patent covenants to achieve true interoperability. We can do it without them, its just a pitty that some commercial distro providers (Xandros, Linspire, etc) don't see that.