[linux-elitists] Show Us The Code

Don Marti dmarti@zgp.org
Mon Feb 26 16:21:42 PST 2007

begin Greg Folkert quotation of Mon, Feb 26, 2007 at 05:45:05PM -0500:

> Well, I hope by now many of us on this list have been offended by Steve
> Ballmer's "Linux infringes our Intellectual Property and it needs to pay
> for it" spouting. 

Not offended.  Making noise about "Intellectual
Property" is what _dead_ IT companies do.

And paying protection money over ill-defined threats
is what _dumb_ IT customers do.

So, on the communications side, we have Microsoft
acting deader than it is (SharePoint is a powerful
lock-in on the back end for vertical market
server apps.  If the ISV of the future writes to
hosted Exchange/Sharepoint, there's no Windows box
on the customer's premises to fdisk.) and the dumb
customers parting with protection money -- but on the
development side, the money goes to a company that
is spending at least part of it on development that
goes into mainstream kernel.org and other projects.

So somehow Microsoft talked themselves into giving
Linux the benefits of FUD (why FUD is good for you:
http://www.linuxworld.com/community/?q=node/197) while
also funneling some money to Linux through Novell.

And anyone who has gotten through ch.1 of "Mimetic
Hacking for Dummies" can now frame the discussion
as yet another loser on products trying to win
on patents.

And they conveniently timed the Novell deal to fix
a GPL loophole before the final v3.  Wow!  This is
the best FUD frenzy ever.  Novell management ends up
looking like the IT equivalent of the rock star who
signs away his first five albums on an "I'll turn
around, you can sign it on my back" basis without
really reading the contract, but hey.

> In fact there is a fairly large company (US $3B projected this year) I
> live near that is in that position(1). They are transitioning off Novell
> Netware for Printing, File Storage and Groupwise hosting, going to
> deploying SLES and Windows2K3 server, out of trying to reduce the risk
> of Microsoft's lawsuit possibility.

If it's any discomfort to them, the "Covenant" seems
to be pretty much full of holes anyway.

> Since I know a few of these people in the decision chain. It has been
> indicated to me, that "selling" tactics are getting VERY VERY nasty. 
> Selling tactics such as: License audits even though they have vendor
> supplied certifications of compliance, forfeit of any "discount" license
> program, threats of per-instance support only at non-priority levels,
> removal of dedicated support personnel... among other things.

This isn't so much "nastiness" as it is "flakiness"
when applied to the solution as a whole.  If the
Microsoft-based system is likely to become less
reliable or more expensive because of sales
considerations unrelated to what the system does,
in the long run that's just reducing the value of
the system.

(Microsoft named a developer site "Channel 9",
which tends to indicate an exaggerated sense
of importance.  No, the OS vendor is not flying
the plane.  The customer's CIO is flying the plane.
The OS vendor is driving the peanut truck.)

> How is it that if Microsoft is SOOOOOO respectful of Intellectual
> Property that they are regularly found in infringement of much "IP" from
> other entities such as Alcatel-Lucent(2), Real, Sun, SystemMax... many,
> many others.

Because they produce general-purpose software, and
it's nearly impossible to work on software problems
of broad interest without infringing someone else's
software patent and not knowing it.  And they have
"deep pockets" to be worth suing.  I doubt they have
any more infringement per line of code or per dollar
of revenue than anyone else.

The ultimate winner here is Red Hat.  Think about a
store with a "you must be this smart to shop here"

Don Marti                    

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