Ubuntu founder rules out deal with Microsoft

In light of Microsoft’s patent-sharing pacts with Linux vendors Novell, Xandros, and now Linspire, rumors have arisen that Ubuntu may also join the fold by making a deal with Microsoft. However, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has posted an entry on his blog to disavow those rumors.

Shuttleworth states plainly, “We have declined to discuss any agreement with Microsoft under the threat of unspecified patent infringements.” He believes such threats “carry no weight whatsoever” and have no legal merit. Still, Shuttleworth says he appreciates Microsoft’s claimed commitment to Linux-Windows interoperability and suggests Canonical and Microsoft could do “wonderful things” together, albeit not under the threat of patent infringement lawsuits.

Shuttleworth’s position is especially interesting considering the popularity of Ubuntu Linux and Dell’s decision to adopt the operating system in some of its consumer PCs. Even with the GPL v3.0 license apparently unlikely to take hold in the Linux kernel, Microsoft’s efforts could suffer if more Linux vendors mirror Ubuntu’s stance. (Thanks to Ars Technica for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • sigher
    • 14 years ago

    Long but good post stmok, kudos.
    (although I’m not sure ignoring MS in the hope/expectation they will go away is a workable strategy, after all once they got a foot in the door, and then a leg, you can’t goto bed anymore and rest easy)

    /[

    • murtle
    • 14 years ago

    If it happens then Linux would be part of M$ and developed by the hate of Ballmer ๐Ÿ˜€

    M$ Go Go Go Kill that bastards.

    You may run from M$ to lap of Jobs – fruity welcome ๐Ÿ˜€

    *There is no U.N.

      • Smurfer2
      • 14 years ago

      lol, but I don’t think Jobs is fruity…. just saying…

        • murtle
        • 14 years ago

        I must wrote that “fruity” ;-]

      • pedro
      • 14 years ago

      dude – best post i’ve read in ages. haha… awesome.

      • stmok
      • 14 years ago

      l[< If it happens then Linux would be part of M$ and developed by the hate of Ballmer :D<]l Its important to understand that Linux is NOT like Windows. Ubuntu is NOT the Linux community. It is only part of it. There is NO single entity that owns Linux. (whether you refer it as a kernel or as a distro). MS's patent covenant agreement can be best summed up by Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth himself: y[<"Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won't say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: "It's an unsafe neighbourhood, why don't you pay me 20 bucks and I'll make sure you're okay," that's illegal. It's racketeering. What Microsoft is doing with intellectual property is exactly the same." <]y While popular, if (hypothetically), they do sign with MS under the conditions of a patent covenant, their userbase will react very negatively. Their userbase is the very audience that helps them where they are. The relationship is a two-way street. By signing a patent covenant, it will be viewed as turning their backs on the very community they took their stuff from. The result is like shooting yourself in the foot. No one, (aside from the RIAA), is that stupid. While Novell, Xandros and Linspire have done this, its not hard to see how the community has reacted as a whole to those companies. You can get a rough idea here on how things are going. ยง[<http://distrowatch.com/stats.php?section=popularity<]ยง OpenSUSE (which is now owned by Novell) is falling. Anything a Novell rep says in defence of their decisions is met with hostility. At least one employee quit (and joined Google) in protest. Even if they do any good, they are still viewed in negative light. They're tarnished because they signed with MS, accepting the patent covenant. For Xandros, they were in the shitter already. Everyone knew their objectives in providing an "ease of use" Linux distro was dubious. (When it comes down to it, only loyal fans stuck with it...And they weren't many). Their marketshare is so tiny, that they are ignored by "analysts". We're talking less than 0.1% here...They basically used Linux as a platform to slap their proprietary crap on. You can't start your own distro community this way, it just doesn't work as you will struggle in the long run. Linspire/Freespire began with some interesting goals. Their attempt to challenge MS with their interpretation of Linux gradually changed over time. Their problem is that they're trying to offer things but compromise the very core values of a typical Linux distro. They introduced a facility called "Click n Run"...An easy way to install apps, but molded into a subscription style service. While they did contribute back to the community with some various side projects, their popularity waned. They even collaborated with Ubuntu in attempt to boost acceptance. (Base their Freespire and Linspire distros on Ubuntu code). This last bit eventually led to the suspicion that Ubuntu might sign a similar deal with MS. As a result, Mr Shuttleworth had to respond in order to quash any doubt that Ubuntu was about core opensource values. The problem with this nonsensical suspicion is, people don't think. Novell, Xandros, and Linspire all have one thing in common. They're willing to agree to anything in order to gain some interoperability collaboration with Microsoft. This is where you can see which company is serious about opensource, and which is only riding on the "Linux tidal wave". (It also provides a good view of priorities of a company. Do they value profit more than the community they depend on?) If you're smart, you can view this as MS helping the Linux community sort out the wheat from the chaff. If you're REALLY smart, you'll just ignore this MS related nonsense, and keep coding. :)

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