Microsoft's current monopoly isn't enough...

We all knew this was coming, but MS is claiming that a large amount of Open Source software, including Linux, Open Office, unnamed Open Source email clients (Thunderbird?), and others violate 235 of their patents:

Microsoft takes on the "free" world
and
MS demands royalties for open-source software.

As part of their claims, they want open source users to pay them for using otherwise free software, in yet another bid to control every aspect of our computing lives. They may have some legit claims, but at the same time, it almost looks like they are claiming to have invented and patented the OS Kernel, OS GUIs, office applications, and email.

This was of course foreshadowed by the Novell deal (which recently added Dell to the mix), which indemnifies Novell of all royalty claims. So it seems that that MS is trying to set themselves up to have a stake in every PC with linux on it as well...
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  1. M$ has also just released a bunch of software to rival Flash, dreamweaver etc.
    Seems they want a bit of the web graphics pie too.

    If they do shut down open source software, I think alot of people will just Pirate the M$ stuff, so in a way its counter productive.
  2. Pirating doesn't hurt MS nearly as bad as they say it does.

    It adds to their user install base, increases the number of people out there skilled in Windows usage, and allows them to penetrate markets, such as places in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, where they would typically have trouble gaining a foothold.

    That being said, I already have my copy of Linux, and there's not a damn thing MS can do about it. I still use MS software, but I also enjoy the Open source options available, and if they shut them down, they'll not get another dime from me.

    Failing that, there is always Unix, which can make valid claims that MS infringed on some of their IP (or could if you were able to patent that stuff in the 60s and 70s).
  3. Quote:
    Pirating doesn't hurt MS nearly as bad as they say it does.

    It adds to their user install base, increases the number of people out there skilled in Windows usage, and allows them to penetrate markets, such as places in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, where they would typically have trouble gaining a foothold.

    Since the last time we discussed this, it still seems backwards to me. Linux == Free. Windows != Free. So why would piracy help MS and hinder Linux? If it was only about getting free software, you'd think that Linux would be dominating foreign soils and seeping into US culture, flooding MS out. It doesn't appear to be working that way.

    "It adds to their user install base..."
    Great, more hungry mouths to feed that aren't even members of the family. Would you want to support people who take without giving?

    "...increases the number of people out there skilled in Windows usage..."
    Wonderful, pass out the certifications. That doesn't help MS. It helps companies looking for educated employees.

    "...and allows them to penetrate markets, such as places in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, where they would typically have trouble gaining a foothold."
    It's governments that give MS trouble. The same governments that should be giving pirates trouble. If MS isn't making money off of the pirates, they really aren't in a market, unless it's black.

    Bottom line, market leadership leads to piracy, not the other way around. People steal MS software because MS is the industry leader. They want a piece of the action. They also want to know what they have. Windows is one OS. Linux is multiple distros. Windows is fully prepared. Linux is raw, sometimes a little microwaved. Windows is Microsoft. Linux is a bunch of neighborhood hackers.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Linux. But the feeling is not mutual in the world's population. Who would you trust, someone whose job is to make your life easier, or a slothful hacker with a soft heart? Linux just isn't as attractive to most people/pirates.
  4. Let me start by saying that all of your points are valid, and I don't want to be misunderstood. I don't think that piracy is what is making MS the leader, or anything like that. Well, this is kind of getting away from the original topic, but I feel I should clarify my points a bit:

    I don't think that pirated copies really hurt MS from a support standpoint. They try their hardest to NOT provide support to pirated copies (and they should).

    The reason I say that having more users skilled in Windows usage is this: Yes, it helps companies looking for workers, but it also strongly pushes companies in emerging markets into the Windows camp. Think of it this way. If you are starting a company in an emerging market, Linux would be very attractive. But due to the fact that most of the potential workforce is familiar with Windows from piracy, you would be more likely to use Windows. I know this is a double edged sword, and they would also possibly pirate Windows themselves, but there is also the chance that they will go out and Buy MS products

    It does help governments, and they do support it (see Romania). But at the same time, look at it this way: Romania has greatly improved their national economy largely due to a rapidly growing tech industry that is dependent on software piracy. And while piracy is still rampant in Romania, it has also become a cheap source of MS product experts for Europe (I wouldn't be surprised if MS had some operations in Romania themselves). Further, IF they start enforcing their anti-piracy laws, there is now a market with a string technical industry that is open for MS to move right into. I am sure they would prefer that to a "backward" country that has little technical industry, but enforces their existing piracy laws. I realize this is a bit of a reach, but there are some valid points here.

    I do not condone piracy, and I know Linux still has a long way to go before its appropriate for the every day user. But I also don't condone monopolies or questionable business ethics. Plus, I think this is a bit hypocritical of them as well. Remember, if the same IP and business laws were in existence 25 or so years ago as we have today, MS likely wouldn't exist, and certainly wouldn't be the mega-corporation it is now. Now they are attempting to stifle Linux and the open-source initiative using some very questionable concepts in the form of unspecified patents, some of which are likely ridiculous patents in the first place.

    BTW, this thread is not meant to bash MS, and I am not anti-MS. I am merely trying to gauge peoples reactions and encourage discussion on the matter, and its possible ramifications.
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