[linux-elitists] Jonathan Corbet: thief?

Don Marti dmarti@zgp.org
Thu May 24 11:07:53 PDT 2007


  "Novell is paying Microsoft a per unit fee (on sales
  of SUSE Linux). If there's not a patent issue,
  what are you paying for?  I feel as if I'm being
  called a thief and to have it come from within our
  own community is divisive."

  -- Jonathan Corbet

  http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/05/23/novell_microsoft_defend_patent_deal_1.html

More thoughts on community and so on, in a
conversation with former Novell "community guy"
Ted Haeger:
  http://podcasts.networkworld.com/linuxcast/052407-linuxcast.ogg

Of course, there have been a bunch of ideas
about ways to deal with patent threats -- Larry
Augustin has the beginning of a good one:
  http://lmaugustin.typepad.com/lma/2007/05/one_patent_per_.html

but considering that we're talking about Microsoft
here, Sun Tzu would tell us to look for a weak spot,
not a strong spot.

Weak spot?

Rick Moen points out that Microsoft just announced
that it will pay $6 billion for a loose bundle of
B-list net advertising companies that calls itself
"aQuantive".
  http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/conspire/2007-May/003021.html
(MSFT market cap: $290 billion, so that's about 2%
of the company's total value.)

Probably a waste of money, since auction markets
tend to consolidate, as we saw when eBay wiped out
Yahoo Auctions.
   http://www.linuxworld.com/community/?q=node/475
(see the economics paper linked to there for details
on the big auction sucks buyers and sellers out of
little auction effect.)

Not that we can't help the process along a little
bit, and claim credit for something that's already
happening.

Here's the problem, from the point of view of a
Linux user or a signer of the latest "neener, neener,
hey Microsoft, sue me" petition.

The last thing that I want to do is make an HTTP
connection to a Microsoft-owned server and say,
"Hi, I'm running Linux!"  Which is just what I'm
letting the browser do when I let an aQuantive banner
go unblocked.  Even if the desktop OS is something
else, if the NAT box is Linux the server side can
pick up on it.

When a company threatens to sue you (or "protect"
you by taking money not to sue you) the reasonable
thing to do is to stop giving them information about
yourself.  So ad blocking is a reasonable response
to broad patent threats.

aQuantive doesn't serve ads under their own name.  Or
under the name of their subsidiary atlassolutions.com.
Some of the ads you need to block are served out of
"atdmt.com" which is already included in EasyList
for AdBlock Plus on Mozilla.

aQuantive also has a division called accipiter.com,
which runs a service called AdManager, which seems to
be under the adbureau.net domain.  (these people are
keeping the domain registrars in business...they're
almost as tricky as comment spammers.)  Here's the
sneaky part about that service: if they get a contract
to serve the ads for example.com, they get example.com
to set up a CNAME pointing at example.adbureau.net.
Not unreasonable to block, but will need a little
DNS tweaking/testing.

Old thread on DNS-based protection from ad servers:
  http://zgp.org/pipermail/linux-elitists/2000-April/000340.html

-- 
Don Marti                    
http://zgp.org/~dmarti/
dmarti@zgp.org



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