23 February 2010

Amazon Sells GNU/Linux down the River

Here's a particularly stupid move by Amazon:

Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has signed a patent cross-license agreement with Amazon.com Inc. The agreement provides each company with access to the other’s patent portfolio and covers a broad range of products and technology, including coverage for Amazon’s popular e-reading device, Kindle™, which employs both open source and Amazon’s proprietary software components, and Amazon’s use of Linux-based servers.

Microsoft has consistently refused to give any details of its absurd FUD about GNU/Linux infringing on its patents, which is not surprising, since they are likely to be completely bogus and/or trivial. So Amazon is showing real pusillanimity in making this unnecessary deal. Shame on you, Jeff.

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Anonymous said...

Richard Stallman also says that Linux infringes patents. How come it is FUD when Microsoft says it, but no one complains about it being FUD when Stallman says it?

Glyn Moody said...

Stallman mentions this to point out how absurd the patent system is since it grants patents on such fundamental building blocks that *every* program infringes:

"I expect that a similar study of any large program, free or non-free, whether written by me or by Microsoft or anyone else, would similarly find hundreds of patents that threaten to prohibit it. In other words, with software patents, every developer of large programs faces many threats. The solution is: don't allow software patents."

As he says, the solution is to get rid of software patents.

Microsoft doesn't want to get rid of these absurd software patents: it wants to *use* them to extract money from other companies - even though it's the equivalent of demanding money from authors for using "patented" words.

Microsoft wants to give the impression that there is a problem with Linux, when the problem is with the entire patent system.

Rather different, I think.

Kelly Tall said...

I notice it is usually "Anonymous" posters that make the kinds of misleading, half read, or purely ignorant statements like the one above (re: reference to Richard Stallman).

Personally I think that Amazon have shown themselves to be a bunch of sell-outs with making this agreement with Microsoft. As for Microsoft, well....I wouldn't expect anything less from a bunch of money grabbing standover merchants like them.

Kelly Tall, Australia

Glyn Moody said...

@Kelly: I think there are legitimate reasons for not wanting to give your name when commenting, but you're right, too often people hide behind it to say things they wouldn't if they put their name to it.

Still, better an anonymous comment than no comment at all...