According to a report from Down Under — this story from ZDNet Australia, to be exact — two of the largest GNU/Linux distros, Red Hat and Ubuntu, have told the death star in Redmond to take a hike.
According to the story, Red Hat referred back to a statement written when Microsoft revealed it was partnering with Novell, saying that its position remained unaltered. Red Hat director of corporate communications Leigh Day added: “We continue to believe that open source and the innovation it represents should not be subject to an unsubstantiated tax that lacks transparency.”
“An unsubstantiated tax that lacks transparency” — you mean like protection money you’d pay to a racketeer?
Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth said Ubuntu stands to benefit from improving interoperability between Linux and Windows, but finds that the threat of patent infringement Microsoft has made “have [no] legal merit, and they are no incentive for us to work with Microsoft on any of the wonderful things we could do together.” Shuttleworth also finds significant fault with Microsoft’s Open XML.
“I have no confidence in Microsoft’s Open XML specification to deliver a vibrant, competitive and healthy market of multiple implementations,” Shuttleworth said in a blog entry. “I don’t believe that the specifications are good enough, nor that Microsoft will hold itself to the specification when it does not suit the company to do so.”
So to Novell, Xandros and Linspire — oh, I’m sorry, “Lindows” — , that’s how you should have played it.
Francois Bancilhon writes a short missive on the Mandriva blog that the French distro won’t be “going to Canossa” (excellent reference, Francois; and for those of you who slept through World History class, it refers to the village in the Italian Apennines where the Holy Roman emperor Henry IV did penance to reverse his excommunication by Pope Gregory VII back in the 11th century) over Microsoft’s FUD regarding their nebulous patent claims.
Probably the most impressive part of the brief but clear statement from Paris — incredibly well written in English, I might add — is the arguably reasonable comparison of Microsoft to the Mafia. To wit:
“As far as IP is concerned, we are, to say the least, not great fans of software patents and of the current patent system, which we consider as counter productive for the industry as a whole.
“We also believe what we see, and up to now, there has been absolutely no hard evidence from any of the FUD propagators that Linux and open source applications are in breach of any patents. So we think that, as in any democracy, people are innocent unless proven guilty and we can continue working in good faith.
“So we don’t believe it is necessary for us to get protection from Microsoft to do our job or to pay protection money to anyone.” (emphasis added)
Again, I hate to compare and contrast (okay, so maybe I don’t hate to do it, but it does take up valuable time and space . . . ), but compare Bancilhon’s succinct statement to Kevin Carmony’s verbose and roundabout apologia, and you can see how the GNU/Linux community should and shouldn’t respond to Microsoft’s threats.
Viva Venezuela: A big muchas gracias goes to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez for having the VIT (Venezuela de Industria Tecnologica), and the Venezuelan Ministry of Light Industry and Commerce produce the Bolivarian computer (named after the South American anti-imperialist revolutionary Simon Bolivar, for those of you who caught up on your sleep in World History class). The Bolivarian computer runs on GNU/Linux, further thumbing the Venezuelan nose at el norte. Bear in mind that this is a nation that offered to supply freezing Northeasterners heating oil this past winter when the White House and Congress would just as soon let them shiver, and they’re also offering to export the machines as well (are you listening, Michael Dell?). A detailed story on this computer and the country that brings it to you can be found at Venezuelanalysis.com.
Speaking of Dell . . . I went to put my money where my mouth is, and they wouldn’t take it. Having blasted Dell — rightfully, I think — over the years, I wrote in an earlier blog posting that I’d get a Dell laptop if they offered Ubuntu. Well, they kept up their end of the bargain, and when I went to buy a laptop on-line (apparently the only place where you can get the Dell-with-Ubuntu deal), my credit was rejected. Reason: Insufficient credit history, which is true. I swore off credit cards in the late 1970s, but I thought having a clean slate would be a good thing. Apparently not, according to our friends at Dell. Being a man of my word, I’ve been putting together a fund to buy one, but now it will take a few months.
Heroes and wankers: Here’s something out of a college professor’s playbook — Read the items at the following links. Compare and contrast these two distro “executives” and explain why one is a hero who leads a growing and vibrant brand and the other is a world-class wanker who, with a stroke of a pen, sent his downwardly spiraling distro into further obscurity and probable extinction.
Correct answer: Shuttleworth=hero, Carmony=wanker. If you answered this way, then go to the head of the class.
Minty freshness: Linux Mint has removed the proprietary software from its version 3.0 “light” version. “Cassandra Light edition was released and is available for download,” announced Clement Lefevbre in a release. “The purpose of the Light edition is to bring an edition of Linux Mint which doesn’t contain: proprietary software, patented technologies and support for restricted formats. In some countries where the legislation allows software patents to be enforced, the Light edition provides a way for users to legally download Linux Mint.” Also, you did it for those of us who would prefer not to use proprietary software too, right Clement? Thanks, Linux Mint!
Got it! I broke down and bought a personalized license plate in California for an extra $60 a year. My car, a burgundy ’94 Volkswagen Jetta, will bear “GNU LNUX” front and back once the plates arrive. Film at 11.