The New Linux Distro

How much does it cost to buy you? Do you have a price? Can you be paid off?

I’m sure many of the CEO’s and CTO’s of various Linux companies are now asking themselves this very question this week (or should be asking themselves) as Microsoft announced yet another “patent deal”…this time, with LG Electronics.

With this, the Xandros deal, the Novell Deal, and anything else Microsoft has up its sleeve (I look for several other distros to “indemnify” themselves in the next few months…for example, Linspire and Mandriva are two prime targets for MS…the bullseye is probably painted) I think that Microsoft has created it’s own “Linux Distribution” so to speak. Let me share with you why I think they have…

The New Distro is Microsoft

These companies are now paying Microsoft. Sure, Microsoft is paying them as well…but the kicker is this: These companies are paying Microsoft for Linux.

Oh, but ask the CEO who made the deal if they think Linux infringes patents and they’ll say “No way! We don’t think Linux violates any patents…we’re just paying in case Microsoft tries to sue us”. Well, let’s put this into perspective shall we?

If I was a store owner in Anycity, USA and paid the mob to not rob my store blind…you know, not because they were robbing it…but just in case. Does that mean that I’m not part of the money that the mob uses to do their dirty deeds? Does that make the cash I’m sending back to them clean? Should my conscience be clear?

Now, I’m not saying Microsoft is the mob…I’m just using that as an example. But they do have a good racket going on here. They get many highly publicized deals where Linux appears to be ‘giving in’ to Microsoft. Microsoft looks to be reasonable with these deals as well saying “hey, we won’t sue you…see, we’re the good guys”. The bottom line is though that Microsoft has no claims on Linux at all…if they did, they would have revealed it already. The reason they don’t reveal anything is because they don’t have anything to reveal. It’s all talk and no walk.

What about the Community?

These companies forgot one thing…the power is with the consumer. The power is in the community. Ubuntu realizes that…they’ve embraced the community and look what’s happened! The community holds the power to make or break…the power of spoken word cannot be underestimated. These companies have either forgotten that or don’t care. My guess is that they don’t care…they worry about making money and not about the tread marks they’re leaving up the back of the community. The community isn’t part of their formula even though it should be the common denominator.

The open source business model hasn’t been around for very long and many are still learning about it. The one no-no that these companies have completely ignored is that they have alienated their own PR system; their own word of mouth. In the end, they didn’t look at what it could cost them to do this deal or they didn’t care. One thing is certain by looking at many examples in the last 20 years…the community doesn’t forget.

MS Now Makes Money from Linux

Microsoft has carved a niche way for itself to make money off of Linux. Are you one of those that are paying Microsoft to use Linux? Are you helping them establish an umbrella Linux distribution made up of all the Linux distros signing up to be a part of their ‘protection’? If so, congratulations on buying your new Microsoft Linux. Have fun over there with Novell, Xandros, LG, and whoever else believes the vaporous and non existing threats from a callow company trying to keep itself meaningful. For myself, my family, my friends, and my distribution…we shall never pay any company that brokers this patent protection deal with Microsoft…you can take that to the bank.

UPDATE 06-14-2007

Looks like I was right! Linspire has also signed a patent racket er…protection agreement with Microsoft. Up next, the other two big hitters in Linux…Mandriva and Ubuntu. 1 down, three to go Microsoft.

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  • http://penguinpetes.com/ Penguin Pete

    Oh, “your distro” being PCLinuxOS… the Windows-look-alike. Well, I might take it to a bookie instead of a bank; might give me low odds.

    But hey, Linux is at last becoming popular with the mainstream, at the cost of abandoning its roots, just like you’ve been calling for! I’d think you’d be skipping and singing about it. You just didn’t think it would happen this way, did you?

    I hope you’re now seeing where we FOSS purists have been coming from all this time while you’ve been lashing out at us, now that you’re on our side… for a
    change!

    Pfff… as you were.

  • celticgeek

    LG has been added to my list of companies paying the danegeld to Microsoft. I do not do business with companies who pay the danegeld.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    [quote]Oh, “your distro” being PCLinuxOS[/quote]
    It might pain you to hear this Pete…but I use about 5 different distros in my household…none of them dealing with MS or any of the companies brokering the deal.

    Your comment has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post at all. You swung three times and are batting a FAT ZERO.

    [quote]But hey, Linux is at last becoming popular with the mainstream, at the cost of abandoning its roots, just like you’ve been calling for! I’d think you’d be skipping and singing about it.[/quote]

    There is no talk of desktop Linux or abandoning of any roots. Secondly, I’ve never called for Linux to abandon it’s roots. I have blogged about MORE USABILITY for the Linux desktop…without any loss of it’s roots to do it. I can take any program out there and make it more usable…from the tiniest perl script to the largest program. If I make it better by giving it an error message when it had none before or a restart button where there wasn’t one before I’m not abandoning the programs roots. Usability Pete, Usability.

    [quote]You just didn’t think it would happen this way, did you?[/quote]
    Nobody did. Otherwise they wouldn’t have taken GPL3 back to the drawing board after the Novell deal to prevent this type of thing in the future.

    [quote]I hope you’re now seeing where we FOSS purists have been coming from all this time while you’ve been lashing out at us, now that you’re on our side… for a
    change![/quote]
    Philosophy has absolutely NOTHING to do with anything in these deals past, present, or future. Whether you choose to use FLOSS/FOSS or proprietary software has nothing to do with it either.

    Remember Pete, I am only on the side of Linux. No one else’s. I care not which distro is used as long as it’s Linux. I also think it’s absolutely horrible of these companies to make deals like this for money at the expense of their Linux communities.

  • http://www.opensourcereporter.net Larry Cafiero

    I’m with celticgeek — I don’t do business with companies doing business with Microsoft.

    Also, I agree with the blogger that we’re all in this together — all on the side of GNU/Linux (or just plain “Linux,” if you wish, as what you call it is not a strike issue) — and to go one further, those who sell out FOSS (or, if you wish, FLOSS, another non-issue) deserve our wrath.

    Additionally, I suspect that I’m not the only one tiring of the holier-than-thou schtick that Penguin Pete has brought to more than one recent blog response field.

    Larry Cafiero
    “Larry the Open Source Guy”
    http://larrytheopensourceguy.wordpress.com

  • dangerseeker

    Everyone can be bought, it’s only the PRICE we decide for ourselves.

  • helios

    Everyone can be bought, it’s only the PRICE we decide for ourselves.

    If what I understand to be true comes to pass, your statement above will not only prove universally true, it will send waves of outrage thru this community never before felt.

    h

  • jack

    I love Linux and I will never stop using it. I have many issues with Microsoft but I am not a fool to the business wold. I do consulting and I have now gone to many of my client who are so cheap and offered them to switch to Open Office and they take one look at it and say give me Microsoft Office I will pay for it. On the back end they do not care way OS the server runs just as long as it can run their programs, and by the way most small business programs require Microsoft Windows server depending on the industry. When I talk to a client or a prospective client I have to be open to what is best for their company and and mine. This is business, the Linux community must come to understand this and stop this crazy fight against the same company that is still helping to put food on their table. Everyone want to kill Microsoft but I will tell you all this the day that happens pigs will fly. I wonder what will happen if Microsoft started a distro of their own or started to do something like what Oracle has done, what the community would do? Imagine Microsoft Linux for real with there own GUI and sets of tools that allowed much better and easier management in an an enterprise environment? ha ha ha ha The I hate Microsoft must stop or else Linux will now make much more head way in to big business and that is where Linux needs to go. How must of you make a living now? Think about that before you hate Microsoft!

  • Jammer

    They’re paying them royalties based on all the company’s revenues from Linux. That’s a big deal.

    These companies think they’re getting such a good deal with MS paying them a one lump sum every few quarters, but when Linux takes off big, Microsoft will be counting their chickens as they rake in money and increase royalty rates.

  • Jammer

    They can do whatever they want as long as they follow the GPL, or it’s copyright infringement.

    MS ain’t following the GPL with their patent deals, as Xandros will find out.

  • http://www.libervis.net libervisco

    Actually, I think that there are some relevant implications that these deals should present with regards to the Free Software philosophy.

    Many were quick to criticize GPLv3 and the direction it is taking, for example, whilst so called “purists” were behind it pretty much 100%. Much of this dissent was gone once the first of the MS deals came. GPLv3 was finally seen as a good weapon against Microsoft’s strategy. Sure it had to be further tweaked to block deals like MS-Novell, but the point is that the whole concept could finally be better understood in light of these deals, which is all about equality and playing by the rules and protecting the community from unfair exploitations.

    Because of these deals, some people who may have criticized the GPL as a legal embodiment of the Free Software philosophy, will think twice before doing it again.

    Regards

    Danijel

  • http://termiteinsects.com/ Bee

    Microsoft is everywhere! Damn them. I hope in future I don’t need pay Microsoft to develop own program

  • Conn Yankee

    [quote]I use about 5 different distros in my household[/quote]

    So, which one did you mean when you said “my distro”? Singular, there’s one.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    Same as if someone said, “my Linux”. It would mean the conglomeration of Linux and what it encompasses, not a singular Linux kernel.

    When speaking or writing to persuade, it is wise to not become to specific or you lose touch with your audience. Since I use all of those distros, it would have been foolish of me to list them all out. Instead, I broke down to that level so that readers could also feel an ownership of sorts of their own distro and feel an attachment to the editorial…develop a pathos of sorts.

  • http://www.tpowerline.com/ Generator

    Everything has own price

  • http://dotmil.org Josh

    Might want to rethink the stance on Ubuntu/Canonical:
    [url=http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/127]Shuttleworth blog post[/url]

  • http://penguinpetes.com/ Penguin Pete

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    Oh, well if Humpty Dumpty says it…it must be true. Give me a break Pete. Stop looking up quotes on the net and thinking you’re a literary virtuoso.

    All your comments and posts end up sounding like jabberwocky. Save yourself the time and effort and say nothing at all.

  • http://vertito.blogspot.com VeRTiTO

    nice and interesting linux blog too, keep up the good hobby!

    cheers