Microsoft signs another Linux distributor

// June 14th, 2007 // 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.

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7 Responses to “Microsoft signs another Linux distributor”

  1. [quote]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.[/quote]

    Not at this point in time. He makes it clear that when “the folks at Microsoft who have a clear vision for the company as a participant in this community” win, he would love to work with Microsoft.

  2. jonathan says:

    Hi Kyle. Yes, indeed. I didn’t mean to imply that he wants to work with Microsoft as things are currently, but re-reading what I said, I can see how you could interpret it as such.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out, though.

  3. Rich says:

    Its a business tactic on Microsoft part, to get as many linux companies as they can…then file a law suit against linux distro’s for patents rip-offs. and say something like … hey Judge these company sign up with us… its a fear tactics… but, it seems to working.

  4. Maxo says:

    I was really stoked to see him compare Microsoft antics to racketeering. I had been saying this for quite some time. I was glad to see someone I respected to have come to the same conclusion.

  5. Stephen says:

    If Ubuntu do a patent covenant with Microsoft then I’ll go and find a new distro that doesn’t. I did it with SUSE and I’ll do it again even if it means creating my own distro either a Debian based one or even a source code only ( I hate RPM’s)

  6. Meneer R says:

    If Ubuntu would ever sign with Microsoft, I guess we are all back to debian.
    But I would personally advise any of the big contributors to Ubuntu to sue Canonical for fraud and slander, if that particular case. Even giving the suggestion, that the result of the combined effort of the participants belongs to another company is FUD. FUD means slander. Slander means SUE-ME.

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