Microsoft patent FUD working against Linux, says new study

Microsoft patent FUD working against Linux, says new study

Summary: Looks like Microsoft's FUD campaign against Linux and open source is paying off, according to a new IDC study. Matthew Lawton, director of IDC's Worldwide Software Business Strategies Group, revealed some interesting tidbits from the non-public study in a conference call this week:The potential for copyright and patent infringement is the No.


Microsoft patent FUD working against Linux, says new studyLooks like Microsoft's FUD campaign against Linux and open source is paying off, according to a new IDC study. Matthew Lawton, director of IDC's Worldwide Software Business Strategies Group, revealed some interesting tidbits from the non-public study in a conference call this week:

The potential for copyright and patent infringement is the No. 1 inhibitor right now for organizations in adopting more open source software in their organization. Close behind that is the availability of support.

[ SEE: Is Microsoft winning the FUD war in the board room? ]

However if you keep reading, the IT end users who were surveyed, said that cost and functionality could outweigh these concerns.

To the extent that open source software saves end users money, they're all ears and their adoption and deployment behavior suggest that they believe that they can save money with open source software.

Users were most interested in functionality, scalability, and reliability (no surprise there). Availability of source code, and the ability to modify it, was far less important to this audience than cost.

Opinion The open source community should ignore FUD campaigns as much as possible, since trying to debunk them only gives them more visibility and credibility. Instead, concentrate on showing users that open source can deliver what they want: software that does useful things, quickly, and without breaking. And when things do break, customers want to know that they'll be able to get the support they need to fix them.

While cutting cost is the eye-catcher right now, the "foot in the door" if you will, it's not a sustainable strategy to focus on that forever. The community needs to work hard to educate non-technical customers about the real value of openness and choice. That's the unique benefit that open source has which proprietary software can't match.

[Via Techdirt, InternetNews]

Topics: Microsoft, Legal, Linux, Open Source, Software

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • How to fight FUD

    Your opinion on how to fight FUD is interesting. Your camp says ignore them because it simply give them unnecessary publicity. The other camp says fight it by sending out as information debunking it.

    Both have merits. One problem with fighting FUD in the boardroom is that it is open source lack credibility when it comes to CEO of CFO, i.e. those who make the decision but clueless about technology. I mean who will you trust if you are a CEO? Microsoft or some nobody from community like me.
    • So true, sinleeh.

      I have one customer who, even though I have NEVER steered him wrong --- and he will even admit to that --- will constantly bring up some "new study" by a blatant MS shill organization about how much cheaper and better Windows is compared to Linux to install and manage in ANY situation.

      I keep telling him: "Look, if you owned a Toyota dealership, would you take, at face value, the critiques of your products by the 'research' group at Nissan of America?" He still doesn't get it.
    • A better way, the FSF should

      release all the details of the study they did with OSRM and be "open" about what they found.

      Oh wait a minute, that would only prove MS is right...
      • Stop confusing the FSF with PubPat

        [u]Eben Moglen[/u] is legal counsel to the FSF you incompetent boob.
        • Get real, you know he can't do that!

          That would imply that he actually knew something and was not just posting because he can (as in, he continually proves that he can not support anything but any idiot can post blank statements). You expect that he can do research, much less get anything correct? Maybe you can get him to insult someones mother (he lacks the balls to go after anyones father) or make some insult related to farm animals, also. Notice how he expects you to take him at his word yet can not find anything that can support his arguments or support his case.
  • I see this as a good thing

    Look at where Open Source was 5 years ago. It was KNOWN by those who "knew" that

    1) It was not enterprise ready
    2) It didn't scale
    3) It was hard to use
    4) It was featureless
    5) No one supported it
    6) It cost MORE, provided no ROI bennefits
    7) No "name brand" recognition (i.e. no IBM, Redhat, Oracel, Suse, ...)
    8) It worked on 2 motherboard types, 1 video card brand and only PS/2 mice. :D

    Except for support being a concern when considering Open Source (which route to go), the world in general knows the above just aren't true.

    All that crap is now behind us. The FUD at every stage of the unrelenting and steady inroads of Open Source has been tried, worked to slow adoption, then was discounted for what it really was, FUD.

    This is really the last card MS has to attempt to slow adoption, and while it may slow some in the US, I doubt this has ANY affect on decision making outside North America. When this last card of FUD falls, what, seriously, can take it's place as an inhibitor?

    It is already reduced in effectiveness as the world in general is getting more and more skeptical of the "IP threat". This is what MS really doesn't want, and that is the world to know/realize that Open Source can go toe to toe (win/lose/draw depending on the situation) with all of MS's offerings without any FUD surrounding it. Once that happens, MS will be forced to reduce the price of all their products, across the board.

    I say ratchet the FUD up, the more it gets publicity and shot down/made irrelevant, the sooner the last FUD factor falls.

  • It's working here, TOO, Ed!

    Click on the link on the ZDNet front news page and ya wind up linking to a photo spread on spacecraft!

    "To the moon, Alice!" Maybe the Honchos at ZDNet are too filled with FUD to link to yer blog! <chuckle>
    • ZDNet incompetence...

      ... can be trusted on the mistaken link, Obie.

      The advocacy of open source on the part of ZDNet officials has a purity that inspires Mr. Stallman, and the attitude toward anything Microsoft is invariably disdain or hatred.

      If you want mindless antagonism to Microsoft you'll feel at home reading many of the Comments and even "news stories" here.
      Anton Philidor
      • Nah, just look at all the Microsoft ads ...

        ... everywhere ya go on ZDNet, most of 'em sayin' and showin' how people are RUNNING from Linux to the safe bosom of Windows and ya get the REAL skinny on where the loyalties lie!
        • This with a Comment beginning "Microsoft patent FUD..."?

          Obie, you have to accept that those who agree with you are not always incoherent with rage against your mutual target. ZDNet is rational enough to take Microsoft's money, and still be proud to point to the continued anti-Microsoft ravings published as examples of editorial independence.
          Anton Philidor
          • Gee whiz, I just make a lil joke and all youse ...

            ... fellas makin' big money shilling MS CDs get all bent and start callin' me incoherent. (Excuse me, I guess if I AM incoherent ya won't understand what I'm sayin' here but, heck, I'll soldier on in as rational a fashion as I can find.)

            Saying that a headline about MS is slanted because it calls one of MS contention's FUD is ignoring the fact that [i]FUD can be true[/i]! Even if it AIN'T true: If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck ...
          • FUD is usually a pejorative term...

            ... used about unsubstantiated, often refuteable charges. Microsoft has never given specifics about Linux violations, but a reasonable person can accept that any elaborate piece of software violates some IP.

            I don't think you're disagreeing when you comment that FUD can be true. That's a different definition of FUD, one that requires that the accusation be taken seriously.

            Didn't say you were unreasonable, but sometimes the good people at ZDNet do trample logic on their way to criticizing Microsoft. Like saying that if IP issues with open source software are ignored they'll go away.
            Anton Philidor
          • Yes, it USUALLY is, but it doesn't HAVE to be.

            And someone is PERFECTLY within their rights to call the IP accusations made by Microsoft FUD, in the most pejorative sense, since MS is pulling a SCO: not bringing up any examples of or demonstrating what IP is being violated. The Linux folks can justifiably say "We don't think so, show us where we are transgressing and we'll quit." This whole nonsense about "we can't tell you because we would expose other company secrets," hey, that dog don't hunt. Veiled threats like this are what put all the capitals in FUD. No trampling on logic in place here, no real problem with saying "if you can't show us, then you're gonna haveta SUE US!"
          • The Linux folks can say what they want...

            ... including, we know open source software infringes on IP, but we won't believe open source software infringes on IP until we are shown specifics. And until we have the specifics, we're going to keep right on ignoring the IP infringements we know are there.

            But would the legal department in any prudent company look at that argument and accept the potential for problems?

            I think the handlers and sellers of open source software are more sensible than you're giving them credit for being.
            Anton Philidor
          • FUD

            IP infringements may be nullified by prior art. I wonder how much of that is a driving force for not highlighting what patents are infringed. And on the other hand what happens when prior art is established and the originator actually files for the patent? Would not that not make Microsoft the infringer. They know all this so, they prefer FUD.

            Unless you can prove otherwise, I suggest that you stop you ignorant accusations since it is "innocent until proven guilty".
          • EVERYTHING is patented

            For those who want to take some time, you'll find just about anything, including some really ridiculous patents. I wouldn't be half surprised if "sitting on a toilet" to have a bowel movement isn't patented. (Do you really want to have "prior art" for that one?)
            So some of the most basic functions which we associate with computers may have already been patented - things like displaying text. So who DOESN'T infringe?
          • Which shows the absurdity of the whole

            Process of patents. And why going to court may nullify such stupid patents due to prior art. Although for computer systems, the original program may be provable. But having said that, I support rms because code is just mathematics and so should not be patented.
          • "ZDNet is..."

            I think it would be hard to support an argument that ZDNet blogs have any institutional bias one way or another. ZDNet doesn't give its bloggers any direction on what to write about, it's all independent. And there's even a Microsoft employee blogging here.

            I reported the broken link to the web site guys. There must be a bug somewhere because I've seen it before.
            Ed Burnette
        • Linux doesn't advertise that much.

          They also have it done for them by hardware or software folks that incorporate them into their service packages.

          I am sure if they advertised on ZDNet, ZDNet would take their money too. You have to stop the conspiracy theories even the subtle ones, cause that sh*t doesn't sell. All they have to do is mock you for it and the customer buys from the vendor that made them laugh too.
          • Linux doesn't HAVE to!

            Without advertising, with the associated FUD campaigns, the only thing that MS would receive revenue on would be the default installs on all of those new Vista boxes.

            Yer right, it's sorta a word-of-mouth deal when a frustrated hardware/software person goes on-line lookin' fer sumthin' which won't wind up being financial sodomy.

            Conspiracy theories? [i]Moi?[/i] Heck, it was ANTON who brought up some sort of conspiracy when started talking about ZDNet's editorial "disdain or hatred" of MS. I certainly never see it. Even when they point up a problem with Vista or some other MS product, they ALWAYS seem to make sure they include the spin by some MS Apologist, even if it has to be the writer of the article!

            Hey, osredo, I use Linux and so I don't have to try to SELL [b][i]any[/i][/b] shi*t! Linux is FREE! <snigger>