// June 14th, 2007 // 7 Comments » // Free Software
For those who haven’t quite caught up, last year Microsoft signed a broad-collaboration deal with Novell that included a patent covenant. Since then, Xandros, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and now also Linspire, another Linux development and support company.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they target the cellular handset manufacturers as well. Both Nokia and Motorola have a lot invested in Linux as a platform, and they have existing agreements with Microsoft, so they would be easy targets.
Today, Aaron Toponce, and Richard Johnson (both Ubuntu members), urged Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Ubuntu), to make a public statement about where Ubuntu and Canonical stands with regards to Microsofts new partnerships.
In a recent interview, Mark was asked whether he would sign such an agreement, and his response was:
“No, absolutely not. But the time will come when the folks at Microsoft who have a clear vision for the company as a participant in this community, rather than as a hostile antagonist, will win. At that point I’d love to work with Microsoft. It’s not an evil empire. It’s just a company that is efficiently grounded in the 1980s. New leadership and new thinking might make it a more effective partner for us.”
By that, I understand that Mark has already stated that there won’t be a Microsoft-Ubuntu cross-patent deal. Mark has also previously expressed that he is against software patents. It does sound like he’s quite keen to be doing work with Microsoft though, and I don’t think that’s necassarily a bad thing, as long as Ubuntu doesn’t give Microsoft more FUD mud, I think I’ll be fine with that.
However, what IF Ubuntu would sign a patent covenant with Microsoft? Would I still advocate Ubuntu? I honestly can’t say. I certainly won’t like it, and I admit that I would also feel more comfortable if Canonical would make a statement on where they stand on this. I have lots of trust in the Ubuntu project though, and I’m very confident that the right choices will be made.