Expect Microsoft attack on open source citadel, says Allison

Expect Microsoft attack on open source citadel, says Allison

Summary: Open source evangelist Jeremy Allison was in New Zealand yesterday, where he issued dire warnings of Microsoft launching a patent attack against open source to win back mobile market share.

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Open source evangelist Jeremy Allison was in New Zealand yesterday, where he issued dire warnings of Microsoft launching a patent attack against open source to win back mobile market share. (Picture from Wikipedia.)

Allison, who famously quit Novell after it announced its patent pact with Microsoft, told a Linux conference in Wellington that Microsoft has to go to court or Windows Mobile is dead. He called a patent fight its "nuclear option."

Such threats made sense a few years ago, when Microsoft was Mordor and open source the Shire, but Microsoft now has a ton of open source development going on, its opponents are not small companies but Google, and recent patent decisions have shown the GPL to be just as enforceable as a Microsoft EULA.

If there is an open source Frodo out there he's probably got his Windows PC in a Microsoft backpack.

While making these predictions Allison apparently wore a Samba t-shirt and agreed that Microsoft's relations with the open source interoperability project have been good.

A second story in the same publication, APCMag (where Microsoft is a big advertiser) gave another reason why Allison's crystal ball may be cloudy. An analysis of kernel contributions by LWN.net founder Jonathan Corbet showed 75% of the code contributions during 2009 were from corporations, not individuals.

A sizable number of companies helped build the kernel last year, he said, and reverse engineering is required for drivers a lot less often because their owners often share information on them, or there are alternatives available.

So if Linux is going corporate, and Microsoft is benefiting from open source, why would the company drop a legal nuke that could well turn out to be a dud in court?

We should ask Allison that when he gets back.

Topics: Security, Microsoft, Open Source

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32 comments
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  • FOSS should be vigilent

    and have the lawyers ready to strike back at M$ beast.
    Linux Geek
    • considering...

      ...there is no money in FOSS, that would prove to
      be quite difficult.
      SystemVoid
      • IBM may fit the bill

        They have too many link and ties with Redhat .....

        After all Its not good for IBM if MS win so Like i
        said we are going straight for a os war
        Quebec-french
      • Hes dreaming about free lawyers..

        And I wish him good luck with that one..
        tgreaves
        • Open Source Software

          does not mean that it is free, or not able to be profitable from. Open Source simply means that an individual or company can obtain the source code, build on it, use it in their product, and under the licensing terms release the code for others to do the same.

          So in this case it would be in Google's interest with the mobile platform known as Andriod, to defend open source.

          There is even a concept device that is going to be released in Asia by Lenovo, as another mobile platform, built on SnapDragon processors, and as I recall the OS will be built on OSS. And those are two very big heavy hitters for MSFT to face in court alone.
          Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
  • He should be more concerned with the present patent attack on Open Source

    Funny that he would be more concerned with what [b]might[/b] happen down the road and completely ignore the patent minefield that Apple has laid out in the mobile industry today. Let's ask Jeremy why the North American version of Android phones have had the multi-touch features disabled from their built in apps. Is that because MS might attack in the future or because Apple is attacking right now?

    I know it is popular to hate MS but the biggest threat to Linux is Apple, not Microsoft. When people leave Microsoft, they aren't going to Linux, they are going to OS X. And Apple is the #1 patent attacker in the world right now.
    NonZealot
    • Wow great stuff except

      apple is going again patent they have ...
      Iphone and android ... Its cell phone and
      personally cell phone are a joke a trend
      nothing more a damn gadget . You dont need
      everything that iphone does you dont need touch screen.

      If its for work and receiving email that all.

      SO apple can go after Its stupid gadget.

      Apple will no go after linux as a os .
      Quebec-french
    • But you forget...

      ...patents are bad except in 2 cases: when they're held by Apple or any open-source organization, and when they're used against Microsoft. If either of those cases is true, then patents are good. An ideal situation, of course, is when both are true.

      Carl Rapson
      rapson
    • Oh mighty zealot, I see you still spread the FUD.

      Why are you still lying?

      "And Apple is the #1 patent attacker in the world right now."

      Funny how Ballmer started the saber rattling(200+ patent attacks), & a
      few Linux companies went to bed with Microsoft. If anything, people
      really hate Microsoft. Learn to acknowledge the truth.
      Intellihence
      • How many of these threats

        did Microsoft actually enforced and win an absurd amount of money?

        I know Microsoft did lose half a billion dollars for some very silly patent.
        live.tiles
      • Ballmer called Linux a "cancer" (2001)

        http://www.linux.org/news/2001/06/01/0003.html

        Q: Do you view Linux and the open-source movement as a threat to Microsoft?

        A: Yeah. It's good competition. It will force us to be innovative. It will force us to justify the prices and value that we deliver. And that's only healthy. The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody. Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain. [b]Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.[/b] That's the way that the license works.

        ~

        The enemy has spoken. Let's hope the 'tumor' spreads.

        ;)
        Wintel BSOD
    • RE: Expect Microsoft attack on open source citadel, says Allison

      A sizable number of companies helped build the kernel last year, he said, and reverse engineering is required for drivers a lot less often because their owners often share information on them, or there are alternatives available.<a href="http://www.edra41.org/"><font color="LightGrey"> a</font></a><a href="http://www.actioniseloquence.net/"><font color="LightGrey"> b</font></a><a href="http://www.funds-china.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> c</font></a><a href="http://www.isupportbridgewater.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> d</font></a><a href="http://www.cca64.org/"><font color="LightGrey"> e</font></a><a href="http://www.nexumbogazici.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> f</font></a><a href="http://www.h4nholdings.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> g</font></a><a href="http://www.dataseek.info/"><font color="LightGrey"> h</font></a><a href="http://www.pcloshwdb.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> i</font></a><a href="http://www.santaibisnes.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> j</font></a>
      zakkiromi
  • We are going straight to a OS war

    With the accord accepted in EU over Oracle and sun
    deal
    the Allaince between MS and HP .... The only power
    left is IBM, they will go with who...REDhat , or there
    own favor .

    that said

    I think that is MS drop the nuke this would be a good
    thing .....Once and for all will know If linux is ok
    or not .... Should this happen and linux is not ok ...
    will move on to BSD or SOlaris that all The great
    thing with opensource is ... there are alternative and
    good one.

    So sit back grab a beer and watch the bloodbath goes
    on.
    If MS goes out victorious It will be time for a anti-
    trust period

    For me Its a win - win situation
    If Linux win Its ok
    If Ms win they go anti-trust It a miracle
    If MS win will move to BSD and Open Solaris Is
    wonderful .....

    In the End MS get it in the face one way or they other
    . I drink to that Beer , popcorn ,chicken wing ,crab
    cake, olive , a good bloodbath and in the end MS
    get it ..... Ill cry if could
    Quebec-french
    • The OSS citadel will repel any M$ attack

      OSS just need to retain a few good lawyers and the wrath of OSS like they did with $CO.
      This will create an inpregnable Maginot line against the M$ legal goons.
      Linux Geek
      • Wow.. you guys were made for each other...

        If only Che Guevara were alive today.. Then you three and Brother Richard could plot your rebellion against your oppressors at the local Starbucks..
        daftkey
  • Microsoft has every right

    Microsoft has every right to defend its patents. If you don't like it, then blame the legal system, not Microsoft.
    ptcruisergt
    • Yes but....

      the way they go about claiming violations without specifying what they are is REALLY slimy. That is one of the major reasons I cannot stand MS. It offends my sense of fair play, honesty and integrity. But then again, this is MS. That seems to be how they operate.
      Economister
    • I agree, and I do

      Software patents should never have been allowed.
      They don't spring from Congressional action, but a
      single court case. Just like the idea of
      corporations as persons springs from a footnote in
      a 19th century court case.

      It's these activist judges that drive liberals
      crazy.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • Haha!!! Activist judges!

        Boy, is that funny! A liberal judge whose case ends up deciding questionable law is demonized by conservatives by being called "activist", yet those same people cheer any decision by a "conservative" judge which clears up questionable laws in their favor.

        Does the term [b][i]hypocrite[/b][/i] come to mind? ;-) Another case of the pot calling the kettle "black". Watching the carnage from the middle is starting to wear me down.
        NetArch.
        • He who stands for nothing

          will fall for anything!

          Perhaps this explains your sinking feeling?
          Ole Man