back to article Red Hat tight lipped on Microsoft talks

The debate over who in the Linux camp will next get into bed with Microsoft is back on, after Red Hat's chief executive admitted to holding patent talks. The only question is over what terms and at what point. CEO Matthew Szulik has reportedly confirmed what we've heard for months: that Microsoft approached Red Hat with …


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Anonymous Coward


well, it looks like debian or slackware, here I come.

I will not support anybody who deals with the enemy, on any terms except microsoft saying"we were wrong, show us the way". Software patents are basically a tax on freedom of speech and language. Imagine if you were held accountable for vocalizing a cliche - we would all owe money to the descendants of the person who first put a few words in a certain order. Not acceptable. If they applied the same rules to music, then we would all be listening to aboriginal strumming (which is more entertaining than certain bald singerettes, but that is the price you pay)

Ultimately, ALL software patents should fail on the obviousness clause, all it takes is time and a brain and you will come to the inevitable conclusion that this is the way to proceed. Timing is irrelevant in this case, just because you were the first to register an interest doesn't make you an innovator, and you should receive no rights as such.

p.s. - Just how far has Fedora been split from the main corp. ?

Anonymous Coward


But what exactly is "acceptance of Microsoft's patent claims" if Microsoft neither wants to identifiy potentially infringed patents it may (or may not) hold nor wants to identifiy any infringing party or any infringing product or part of product?

So, does it mean that one agrees to pretend to believe in Microsoft's threats while handing over a wad of cash as "protection money"? As receipt one can then get a copy of the exclusive API documentation (stamped "MS Trade Secret") or what?


Beware convicted monopolists bearing gifts

i remember my sharp reaction the first time i read about RH's CEO.

the phonetic "zhulik" means crook (with a con man flavor) in Russian.

if Mr. Szulik takes this deal, he will have conned himself.

if the man has never seen Bill's carnivorous creation do an "embrace and extend" on another company or technology (reminds me of stuff by H.P. Lovecraft, it does), he will get a fast intro to the process once he signs the deal.

MS does not obey laws, there's no need. the lobbyists and the lawyers make sure the law doesn't matter, so MS will sign anything, because they can always ignore the contract if they need to. lawsuits are expensive and lengthy to the point where the outcome is irrelevant.

if RH gets eaten, i suppose there's always FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Ubuntu, Debian, rPath, Gentoo, Turbolinux, etc...


Whither mp3 and video?

Well, Fedora does not ship with the ability to play MP3 files or most video. So I'd say the patent trolls beat MS to the punch in terms of castrating open source. Same with Suse.

Silver badge

Stealthy Reds in a Big Bed

"As receipt one can then get a copy of the exclusive API documentation (stamped "MS Trade Secret") or what?"

Yes, of course, .... the one filed away with the patents. At least Dick Turpin wore a mask.

Nice to see Open Source Reds being HyperProActive in dealing with Microsoft with insertion of their own Trojan/Worm/Back Door/Mole/Partner. From the inside you can be more effective, hiding in full sight.



Seems to be lots of speculation and finger-waving in this editorial. I'm trying to filter out the sewage from the gold. So far it's a long and very inefficient process: from quite a long article these are the nuggets I get :

1/ Microsoft approached Redhat.

2/ RH told them to get screwed.

3/ RH has issued repeated statements that they're happy to talk to MS - as long as the subject on the table is *standards* for interoperability.

All old news. And Mr Clarke concludes that RH may be the next to get "into bed with Microsoft". Sorry, did I miss something?

What a crock. Honestly, Register, I thought better of you.

Firstly, I doubt *any* Linux - or *BSD, for that matter - would have problems talking with MS about drafting open interoperability standards. That's not even business, it's just common sense.

Secondly, RH just isn't desperate enough, financially or otherwise, to sell out. Unlike Novell.

Thirdly, Szulik has spoken out several times in the past on Free Software - he really does "get" the difference between Free & Open, and the advantages that both can offer.

Fourthly, RH has *always* been militantly FLOSS. It championed GNOME and didn't package KDE until it became libre instead of just gratis. It's opened up its configuration tools. It's just relinquished control of Fedora to the wider community. And (to its detriment) it refuses to package any proprietary codecs (of course RH would love to rectify this...which is exactly why it's always open to talks with MS, duh! But it doesn't follow that it will drop its principles).

Lastly, even if Szulik was to consider selling out, he would probably have to wave bye-bye to most of his developers, not to mention engineers, all of whose skills are pretty much transferable to other distros.

Mr Clarke is scaremongering. Stop it, please.




Dear oh dear

I have to agree with Conrad here, what a waste of my time reading this article. Not worthy of the Reg.


Please forgive the novice!!!!!

I am definetly not a technical guru, but I run Linux because I love the fact that I can customize it. If Linux is Open Source and MS is complaining about Patents being ignored aren't they going after the wrong people? Wouldn't it be the private citizens in the Linux community that are breaking patents when they go in and change the source "CUSTOMIZING" the OS as they feel? I would love to see MS try to go after the correct people and finally going to court over it. I realize MS will never take the people it accuses to court but that in turn allows those citizens to turn around and sue MS for Slander, Libel, etc. In the end MS will have to become accountable or risk losing everything.

Just the opinions of an IT novice, if I'm missing something please tell me.


lawyers and novices (lions and lambs)

for the novice post:

laws in the US are usually vague enough that multiple interpretations are possible. when there's money to be made (which is most of the time, to a lawyer who charges $300 or more per hour), the lawsuit can be long, painful, and lucrative for the lawyers.

lawsuits are used to create fear and doubt about a defendant's business or product, and will usually drive customers away.

since many laws and regulations are poorly written (sometimes out of ignorance, most often due to influence of industry lobbyists), many lawsuits are won by having more money (so the lawsuit can be sustained longer by one side), or more and/or better lawyers (usually requires "more money" as mentioned above).

therefore, the law in the US usually has little to do with justice, and much to do with money.

Microsoft has huge reserves of money, and makes tens of billions of dollars more every year. fighting them in the courts is expensive and unpredictable, even if one is a lawyer.

the system is designed to benefit corporations, not individuals; corporations hire lobbyists and give "campain donations" to political candidates to make sure it stays that way.

having said all that, your naivete is refreshing and inspiring. i thank you very much for the post, seems there are still true believers out there.


Laws and regulations

Fortunately, the American situation doesn't apply everywhere, there's quite a few European countries where these laws are better arranged, insurances are in place to cover fees to lawyers and a lawsuit against Microsoft is quite viable, provided you have a fair amount of evidence.

Now all it takes is for Microsoft to threaten some exclusively European group or person sufficiently to get the process started.

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