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Ballmer throws the chair in his mouth…again.

The chair-throwing guy everyone hates to hate (seriously, stop being a jerk and we can talk!) has continued his crusade against true open source by once again threatening lawsuits over precious (unenforcable) patents.

I think it is important that the open source products also have an obligation to participate in the same way in the same way in the intellectual property regime.

That’s why we’ve done the deal we have with Novell, where not only are we working on technical interoperability between Linux and Windows but we’ve also made sure that we could provide the appropriate, for the appropriate fee, Novell customers also get essentially the rights to use our patented intellectual property. And I think it’s great the way Novell stepped up to kind of say intellectual property matters. People use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property in a sense have an obligation to eventually to compensate us.

Let’s start off with the claim of obligation. That’s up to the courts, ultimately, to decide whether a specific piece of the Microsoft Patent Repository is valid and what, if any, damages have occurred by use in linux (or, any other patent holder vs. any other alleged infringer).

But that’s really moot when you read what Ballmer said about the Novell agreement. Because it isn’t clear they can only distribute coupons that provide GPLv2 software. They would have to make it very clear to the Novell users they distribute to, “If you install any GPLv3 then you’re using our patents in a disallowed way… you aren’t protected.” And even then, unless they have very tight language they are dead in the water.

And even if not, they’re puffing the magic dragon if they’re going to hide behind the Novell agreement, “Look at us, we’re trying to be pals” whilst those very customers aren’t protected. They just can’t have it both ways. Either Novell users are protected, even under GPLv3, or they aren’t (under GPLv3) and the facade is covering the other face.

Ultimately what’s important is for the people to come to terms with what these corporations are actually doing… what they’re pulling. We need to recognize our society from the wider view, and then look down at the specifics, to decide for ourselves what’s good and bad.

Most people don’t take that time, which is a mixed blessing. Enough people infringing copyrights, enough corporations trying to beat their customers into compliance with arcane law and idiotic economic models… let’s face it, the muscles will always lay behind the invisible hand in that battle. Sooner or later the society crumbles or gets reformed just like any other system.

Those Closed Source Fools…

Microsoft quotes two people as saying the same exact thing. Some thoughts about their scorn for linux.

Today digg showed me a story about a Microsoft page in Canada called ‘Get The Facts.’ You can see that here.

The funny thing is, there is the exact same statement from two different people on that page:

screenshot of

And what of the Capital Engineering experience with Linux and Microsoft? Here’s a quote from the case study:

“Even though the Linux platform appeared to be the cheaper option, it was our impression that it is expensive to configure and maintain,” says Ed Castillo, Information Technology Team Lead, Capital Engineering. “If you look at it from an ROI perspective, Microsoft might cost more as an initial payment, but as an overall long-term investment we believe that Microsoft-based technology provides more value for our money.”

What that vendor doesn’t say is you pay over and over again with Microsoft. You pay for the product, you pay for support, you pay for the upgrade, you pay for support on the upgrade. You pay for new hardware.

With linux you have the option of not paying. You can run it on cheaper hardware, you upgrade for free. There are always things to configure, but you have options of how to configure them. You have options about who and how you get your support.

You have access to a community that helps each other because they are enthusiastic about the software. You can actually talk to the developers and maintainers.

Here’s another quote. It’s from this article and again is from the other half of our duo of duplication shown in the picture:

“We were wasting too much time. That was the main issue,” said Kaddoura. “I had to convince my boss to switch to Microsoft because of the cost. But Open Office is not free because we have to spend time dealing with documents. There are certain costs.”

This time the ‘case against open source’ is clear: proprietary formats used by the market leader are preventing fair competition. That article tells both sides and points that out, but we of course can’t expect Microsoft to do the same.

Indeed anyone who has followed the push for open document format standards knows that Microsoft wants to strong arm their own ‘open’ format which will include countless special cases for handling their old documents. That would be fine if there was a specification for them, but in many cases Microsoft itself has no specification due to their shoddy software development standards.

While I have to give Microsoft credit for treating its customers like a bunch of rubes, they themselves are so inept as to make one feel pity. I’d love to see Microsoft fix their issues with their image and more importantly their software.

The problem is that for a company like that, one that grew out of that business model and has that culture, it’s more likely they will spontaneously combust than make that shift.


You can’t patent an ancient tradition… but that doesn’t stop people from trying.

This is stupid. Very very stupid.

Look. If someone patents Yoga, some aspect of Yoga, ignore them. They don’t exist. They are figments of your imagination. I don’t care if they carry badges or swing gavels and speak legalese. They are full of shit.

You can’t patent Yoga, and even if you could the karmic implications of doing so would be so disastrous as to completely implode anyone who tried to profit off such a move.

I can understand the outrage, but if you end up in court (and you should — don’t just pay a settlement, go to court) you’ll have ample opportunity to show 5,000 year old prior art and can recoup any debts you incur in doing so. You can even make a hefty sum in counter-suit for patent trolling.

No Yoga Patent For You!