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Shuttleworth Says No Patent Deals With Microsoft 121

christian.einfeldt writes "The FOSS press has speculated for some time now that Mark Shuttleworth would probably not agree to any patent 'protection' deals with Microsoft, but blogger Steven Rosenberg has found a page on Shuttleworth's personal blog ('Here Be Dragons') that unambiguously sets out Shuttleworth's opposition to Canonical's participation in any such deal. Rosenberg summarizes Shuttleworth's position in these terms: 'So there you have it — Canonical welcomes any efforts by Microsoft to improve "interoperability," isn't a fan of OpenXML, doesn't want to infringe on anybody's patents or trademarks, thinks Microsoft's threats are ill-advised, and would like to actually deal with the issue rather than respond out of fear.'
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Shuttleworth Says No Patent Deals With Microsoft

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  • by aysa ( 452184 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @04:56PM (#19535205)
    So now we have a site for nerds, that quotes an unknown blogger quoting Shuttleworth.

    Great, I will link to the slashdot article in my blog. Maybe I get slashdotted and we get a dupe.

    Cant't we go straight to the source?
    • I linked to Steven Rosenberg's blog because he did a great job of finding a comment buried deep in Mark Shuttleworth's blog and because he nicely summarized Shuttleworth's opinion. Rosenberg broke that story by exhuming it from lots of other content on Shuttleworth's very active blog. Without Rosenberg's blog highlighting of Shuttleworth's blog entry, we /. readers would not have noticed it. Shuttleworth posted his comment on 15 June 2007 [], and a full day passed without that comment being noticed on /., which is a long time for a comment by the founder of a major GNU Linux distro to go unnoticed by /.

      Also, Rosenberg saved busy readers a bit of time by summarizing Shuttleworth's longer opinion. Shuttleworth clearly took the time to make sure that his comments were diplomatic and well-rounded, but the result is that his comments were not subject to the kind of quick-glance summary that many /. readers need.

      So, in summary, I felt that Rosenberg provided two important journalistic services, and that he deserved to get the attention and traffic for his good work.

      Aysa is critical of the decision to link to Roseberg's blog, but IMHO, Aysa's criticism is directed more toward his or her disdain for bloggers and evinces a bias toward big media. Aysa would have had no complaint if this same summary had appeared on say Newsforge. Notice that Aysa doesn't complain about the caliber of Rosenberg's summary or Rosenberg's editorial choice to discuss Shuttleworth's blog. Indeed, Aysa could not have made such complaints, because Rosenberg's summary is pithy and his choice to run a comment by news-making Shuttleworth was unimpeachable. Rosenberg's only "fault" was the fact that his work did not appear on Newsforge. IMHO, Aysa's criticism of the link to a blogger therefore lacks substance and shows a meritless disdain merely for Rosenberg's status. If journalism is good, it's good regardless of where it appears.
      • by remmelt ( 837671 )
        > Rosenberg broke that story by exhuming it from lots of other content on Shuttleworth's very active blog.
        I don't think that word means what you think it means? Shuttleworth "broke the story," Rosenberg "commented on his blog."

        > Shuttleworth clearly took the time to make sure that his comments were diplomatic and well-rounded
        So basically you're saying that these comments weren't good enough? They shouldn't be diplomatic or well-rounded, they should be blog-o-ready, bite-size soundbytes?

        We're heading t
        • @remmelt:

          > Rosenberg broke that story by exhuming it from lots of other content on Shuttleworth's very active blog.
          I don't think that word means what you think it means? Shuttleworth "broke the story," Rosenberg "commented on his blog."

          News is whatever appears above the fold. It's not news if it is buried in the classified section, which, thanks to Craigslist, is increasingly becoming an anachronism. If this very important comment by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth had not been repeated by Rosenberg, it would not have been found by a colleague on an email list, where I found it and submitted it to the /. editors. Ultimately, it is the /. editors who made it news by placing it in a place "that matters", Slashdot. Shuttlewort

          • by remmelt ( 837671 )
            Thank you for your eloquent and thoughtful answer.

            I understand your point about breaking the story, placing the SW post above the fold. I'm not saying it's not a good find, and I will definitely admit that the blog system with its comments is a good way of dispersing information like this, in its ubiquity there seems to be a way for important information to bubble to the top.

            The danger with trusting editors to select and summarise news for us is that we don't form our own opinion, instead, having them forme
          • by sudog ( 101964 )
            Then link *them both*, you moron. Why are you forcing us to visit a blogger that we clearly hold in contempt? That's not democracy. If we want to vote with our traffic to some blogger, we'll go there. Meanwhile, you're not giving us a choice. You're the one who's being un-democratic, you stinking fascist!
        • by sudog ( 101964 )

          This blog-linking on the front page of Slashdot is driving me nuts! What's the point when I can just get the real link from a /. clone somewhere? We all know what the real deal is: Slashdot is driving traffic to some stupid blog. Are there kickbacks? Who knows?
      • by Bishop ( 4500 )

        Shuttleworth's very active blog.
        What the hell are you talking about? Mark Shuttleworth has only made 5 posts this month, and only 7 posts in the month of May. This is hardly very active. Rosenberg adds nothing of value.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by haraldm ( 643017 )
      Well why slashdot [] ? ;-)
  • Everyone kinda knew. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Howitzer86 ( 964585 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @05:03PM (#19535253)
    Canonical is out of range of Microsoft's Patent arsenal. Mark is also a smart guy and knows what's really going on.

    I think everyone kinda knew this already, though it is nice to be sure.
    • by rudlavibizon ( 948703 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @05:18PM (#19535375)
      Also I get the impression that he's not in for making quick cash out of linux. It looks like he has long term plans, not just with linux as a platform, but with free software as a development/business model.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Canonical is out of range, but Ubuntu is partnering with U.S. companies who are signing on to this patent protection B.S. Like Dell, for instance.

      I wonder what went on behind the scenes of Dell's decision to not allow a full range of support for the Ubuntu machines they are offering. I wonder what will go on behind the scenes of future Linux related decisions by distributors who are aligned on the other side of this issue.

      • by RobertLTux ( 260313 ) <> on Saturday June 16, 2007 @05:51PM (#19535597)
        umm news flash most likely due to folks raising Holy Hell about it they have stated that they will in fact do the 4 year "CompleteCare" on linux systems
        (and i just checked and the option is back up) They said that somebody more or less fat fingered the data base (oops we sowii)
        • The point is that Linux seems to require people raising holy hell to get the treatment it merits. Now one of the most successful distros is lining up contrary to some of their biggest potential partners in America.

          I am glad they are standing up, I am worried about the results.

      • I wonder what went on behind the scenes of Dell's decision to not allow a full range of support for the Ubuntu machines they are offering.
        I would guess something like this:

        "So who's going to handle the calls we'll get about the Ubuntu systems?"

        "Well, there's Joe and Larry."

        "Anyone else?"


    • Not only that, think of the blowback from the community if Shuttleworth sealed such a deal.

      Ubuntu is still at a stage where a lot of the progress depends on hardwork of the True Believers of the community. Such a deal would kill their enthusiasm for Ubuntu because they say, "Look, Shuttleworth is just like the rest of the sell-outs." And then a fork would soon happen where lots of the movers/shakers migrate to.
    • No one is safe. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MrMogigoma ( 1116459 )

      Canonical is out of range of Microsoft's Patent arsenal.
      But no one is safe from their pervasive advertising []...
    • Canonical is out of range of Microsoft's patent arsenal.
      Note that Shuttleworth originally got rich with a similar strategy: by developing and selling cryptographic products out of the range of U.S. laws which controlled such products. This similarity is, presumably, not lost on Shuttleworth.
  • source (Score:5, Informative)

    by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @05:08PM (#19535299) Journal
    here is the source: nt-112738 [] It is good to know Mark doesn't fold under bogus patent threats like novell/xandros/linspire did. keep up the good work Ubuntu :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ozzie: bitch, shuttle wont land, seems to have enough fuel.
    steve: time to look at that french company.
  • ... um, that's really all I have to say.

  • Who? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ebcdic ( 39948 )
    You might at least say who this guy is. We aren't all experts on the personnel of every Linux distribution.
  • Ramifications (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fishthegeek ( 943099 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @05:54PM (#19535629) Journal
    I've often wondered if Shuttleworth would turn out to be some sort of 21st century Dr. Faustus and sign a deal with the devil. He is a business man after all and Canonical is a business. It's pleasing to hear that he will not be directly working with Microsoft, but one has to wonder whether or not Ubuntu's collaboration with Dell and Linspire (both of whom have signed on with MS) mean to Canonical. Is he saying this now because in some indirect way Ubuntu becomes indemnified by default? I'm not saying one way or the other, and I certainly am not questioning His commitment to FOSS but it is curious to watch this happen. What one of us here wouldn't give our little used left testicle to just be a fly on the wall of those patent extor... errr.. licensing meetings between MS and insert your own company here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      From what i have gathered by reading columns through the Internet (Internet!=true) is that Mr. Shuttleworth is okay with where he stands in life. He built a business that in turn was bought by Verisign which made him a lot of money. Using some of that money, he created Canonical as a framework for housing the Ubuntu development team.

      So does he need to cross license with Microsoft? No. Why bother? He doesn't need the money, his company is small in terms of staff and he set forth a goal which is not to compe

      • by jZnat ( 793348 ) *
        Debian are the people who renamed Firefox to Iceweasel due to trademark issues; there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that they'd do anything cooperative with Microsoft.
      • by deek ( 22697 )

        Debian must not sell out to Microsoft or Ubuntu will have a very rough road ahead. And for Debian not go with Microsoft will take the whole community to back it.

        And thus we now understand the need for sticking to ideals. Debian developers have stuck to their ideals on many issues. For example, the Firefox trademark problem. Many people criticised them for it, but they didn't compromise on what they believed in.

        So, based on past actions, I believe that Debian will be perfectly safe. They

      • He doesn't need the money, his company is small in terms of staff and he set forth a goal which is not to compete directly with Microsoft but a more altruistic level by addressing the computing needs of people in general.

        Yeah, kinda.. but on the other hand, remember Ubuntu bug #1 []: "Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace. This is a bug, which Ubuntu is designed to fix."

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      MS and insert your own company here.
      I think you're a little bit confused about who is inserting what where...
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @05:54PM (#19535631) Homepage Journal
    This is great. Hopefully the Linux community will now consolidate around Canonical and Red Hat -- already, two leaders who have done well by listening to what people want and simply delivering quality free software without any strings attached -- now, the two who are sane enough to avoid getting in bed with Microsoft.

    As the also-rans sign their lives away to the Beast of Redmond, their users will disappear. They will become irrelevant, because nobody wants to run Microsoft Linux. And the fragmentation of Linux will gradually go away as everyone consolidates around Ubuntu and Red Hat (and Red Hat respins such as CentOS).

    I'm looking forward to it.
    • by jeiler ( 1106393 )
      We can't blame Microsoft for the fragmentation of GNU/Linux ... nor will the temporary unity of fighting Microsoft make that fragmentation go away. Fundamentally, the fragmentation of the OS is a result of the fierce--perhaps even rabid--demand for independence from the community. Too many people insist on doing things their way, or not doing it at all.

      That was Apple's problem--Steve Jobs wanted to do things his way, or not at all. That fierce desire for independence, and for charting his own course, was (a
      • I assume you're talking about the different distributions here which has nothing to do with the upstream projects that people work on as well as the fact that different distributions are trying to achieve different goals.
    • by bonefry ( 979930 )
      Canonical and Red Hat are companies that may change their priorities ... always remember that.

      The Linux community is already consolidated around community-driven distributions like Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu (it is community-driven), and I don't have any doubts that the Ubuntu community will do the right thing and fork Ubuntu should the worst happens ... because after all, in the words of Richard Stallman, we want software that's FREE, not 80% free.
    • I went with OpenSuSE 10.2 at work because it Just Works(TM) with Active Directory and Windows networks. For the environment we have at our university, OpenSuSE just seems to work better. But when I needed to rebuild my laptop (which is only used by my fiance to browse the web, check email, and play World of Warcraft), I decided to put Ubuntu on it. I'm going to get her a laptop in a few months, probably one of the Dell Ubuntu ones, and figured I should start her off now getting used to the OS.

      It went so smo
    • Agreed.

      Fortunately, Ubuntu and Red Hat haven't caved into the current (definitely passing) trend to hop into bed with Microsoft. And a dangerous romp that is.

      The power really is with Ubuntu and Red Hat anyway as they're both the top distros in their target market (desktop and server). Keep up the great work!

    • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) *
      >And the fragmentation of Linux will gradually go away ...

      "I wish that linux had but a single neck, that I might chain it" Caligula, by way of B. Gates
    • Hopefully the Linux community will now consolidate around Canonical and Red Hat

      Debian? Where would Canonical be without them?
  • Better link (Score:4, Informative)

    by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @05:57PM (#19535663) Homepage Journal
    Here's a better link: [] This one is a top-level entry in Shuttleworth's blog in which he states his position. The one TFA references is a comment attached to some other blog entry.
  • applause (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @06:03PM (#19535695)
    Mr. Shuttleworth is to be applauded for not bending to Microsoft. Bending to Microsoft is capitulating to the FUD climate and ultimately does more harm to Linux than good. Interoperability is a good thing, but at what cost? Have software patents and measly threats turned us all into scared little rabbits? I am not much of a Linux fan, instead favoring BSD, but I have to give credit for Mark Shuttleworth challenging Microsoft to put its money where its mouth is. These thinly veiled threats by Microsoft represent nothing more than a company in the beginning of its death throes. Microsoft is loosing its ability to innovate. Open source may actually save Microsoft and its own executives see it as nothing more than a cancer. Once Samba releases version 4 [] and the Open Change Project [] makes its first release, Microsoft will have a serious threat to its Active Directory and Exchange dominance. Face it, MS SQL server isn't as irreplaceable as Microsoft would have you think, Share Point Server is purely redundant, and Apache is the web server Howitzer. Microsoft has an excellent chance to open source its protocols, streamline its business model, and take advantage of all the free community development to work out the myriad of bugs and problems. Microsoft does not have the problem of market penetration so, by open sourcing its protocols and using its marketing machine, there is no serious threat to long term profitability. Conversely, its products would be made that much better.
    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )
      Microsoft is loosing its ability to innovate.

      Hmm, I thought they were innovating LESS!
    • by Yfrwlf ( 998822 )
      First off, Steve Balmer is running MS. A jock. With basically the same mentality as jocks from high school. I doubt he will cave in, he'll probably be a jerk to his last breath. Plus, they have way too much dominance still to have the will to play nicely with others. Companies like Intel and IBM are very big as well but get along much better with open source, though most of that could be due to the fact that they aren't really in the software business. MS has gotten to where it has by being a stock br
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Although it shouldn't come as any surprise, once again SJVN shows his true colors, trolling and misquoting - which is partly what prompted Mark to repeat himself more clearly. []

    Once again, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols proves that he is a Microsoft shill who should be forever ignored by intelligent, thinking people.
    • by deskin ( 1113821 )

      Once again, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols proves that he is a Microsoft shill who should be forever ignored by intelligent, thinking people.

      That's the impression I got from the article. Nothing but poor armchair speculation: he quotes Shuttleworth as saying `I'd love to work with Microsoft', but can't bother to give a citation for the quote; he shamelessly cross-links his own pieces, and then asks his readers, `did you read my other stuff?', as though to suggest that those who haven't are less than quality human beings. His condescension nearly reached through the screen and physically browbeat me.

      The worst part is, the pages don't have a

  • NUTS.


    Mark Shuttleworth

  • Here it goes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wellingj ( 1030460 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @07:47PM (#19536335)
    Eben Moglen has stated that there is a Waterloo [] to be fought some where in this current attack from Microsoft. I think this situation is more analogous to the American Revolutionary War because this is more about freedom. I believe Mark Shuttleworth has accomplished the equivalent of the Boston Tea party with his statements. In effect he's saying that he won't pay the Microsoft tax on his freedom, regardless of how insignificant or silly the medium of that tax. We all (should?) know what happened 2 years after the Tea Party :

    By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
    Their flag to April's breeze unfurled;
    Here once the embattled farmers stood;
    And fired the shot heard 'round the world.
    So who will it be?
    • Strikes me as a lot closer to the civil war. A lot of good developers, our brothers and sisters in the South and North, are going to get hurt in the process of fighting a war that neither side can actually "win" - resulting in one side that claims victory, but changes none of the behaviour that led to that war's existence in the first place.

      The civil war did not end slavery; Microsoft's licensing war will not end intellectual property practices.
      • by Yfrwlf ( 998822 )
        The war is a good way to spread the word about patents and their negative effects though, especially in the realms of "ideas" like software. Ideas that have been around since...well, hell, I'm sure some of the ideas for software and communication go back hundreds of years.
  • Linux and free software as a whole represent a new business model. It's good to see one of the big players standing with the community. Most people say microsoft is just bluffing, but I'm not one of them. The reality is that open source software is pressuring the entire industry to change the way they do business. Microsoft will not change, and will not hesitate to remove any threat. I think this still comes back to novell saving their company with the community's product, but not being willing to hold
  • Cool things (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sybesis ( 1095871 )
    Thats a cool thing. I was hoping that it would happen because Ubuntu is so cool and don't actually need anything from microsoft to become better. Interoportability is just a lie in my opinion... Why would microsoft want to make windows more portable for linux while it isn't interoportable on previous version of windows... dx10 and dx9 games. Why would someone want to make windows work with linux when he can make linux work with linux?
    • by Gryle ( 933382 )
      Why would someone want to make windows work with linux when he can make linux work with linux?

      Because, for the time being, people are still using Microsoft. Linux is the unknown and therefore scary. If you can show Joe Sixpack that your Linux box and his Microsoft box can play well together, he becomes less scared of Linux. Then you show him the respective price tags and watch as he sees the light.
      • But if thats the plan, why would microsoft want to make it happen? I was talking about companies and corporation that own servers and anything. Why would people bother to setup a network of computer with linux and windows. When they can simply put everything in linux freely. I don't know how do they work in other office, But using ssh / svn / any source manager and a lot of tool is much more harder on windows than it is in linux. people may say that console is difficult?! But seriously, having to write a si
        • by Gryle ( 933382 )
          I don't think MS wants to make it happen. Frankly I think all their talk about interoperability is lip-service. My post was in regards to why Linux developers would want to make Linux play nice with Windows.
  • Considering the murderous rage:) GPL3/Stallman is showing towards these deals, it seems as though the FSF wants Linspire (and Novell and Xandros) to pay dearly. But what I'm wondering is, as Linspire has made these patent deals, what will it mean for Cannonical. Didn't Linspire and Cannonical make agreements? If their agreements are done legally (rather than Mark&Mike talking, I don't know too many details) will that mean that any GPL3 consequences about these deals could affect Cannonical through Li
    • I don't believe it has anything to do with Linspire at all as Ubuntu is mostly interested in working on and sharing code/bugs/translations with everyone to get things done more widespread not just kept in a particular distribution.
    • Linspire is based on Ubuntu... Not the other way around...
      So if anything the patent protection will flow to Ubuntu
      without Mark lifting a finger (assuming GPLv3 adoption that is)
      Then... Ubuntu is Debian based, and so on and so forth to the
      Linux Kernel. Maybe... I'm a bit fuzzy on GPLv3 so far... any one
      care to enlighten?
      • Wasn't Lindows around long before Ubuntu was? I thought Lindows was orignially based on pure Debian, then adding in the Wine software and some licensed codecs. When Microsoft jumped them and Linspire came about, there was a lot of reshuffling, but Linspire was still based on Debian, and Ubuntu was still being developed.

        Anyone care to correct me here?
  • Mandriva ?!
  • So what if Shuttleworth says he won't allow Canonical to parttake of the Microsoft plan. Microsoft will just buy him out. It's not as if Shuttleworth has a history of taking the moral high ground when an evil competitor comes offering cash for his equity.
  • Typical other responses to the /. posting :

    "Mr. Shuttleworth is to be applauded for not bending to Microsoft."
    "It's pleasing to hear that he will not be directly working with Microsoft"
    "Dear Ballmer. NUTS. Signed, Mark Shuttleworth"

    Ok, so Shuttleworth hasn't taken MS's shilling on the patent issue: but he hasn't exactly given a "Nuts" reply either, and has most certainly not discounted directly working with MS, quite the opposite.

    From Shuttleworth's blog:

    1/ "We have declined to discuss any agreement with Mi

User hostile.