Hello and welcome to the new world where Linux vendors are selling their souls.
As you can tell from the first line of this post, I am extremely frustrated with the state of Linux vendors these days, let's try to analyze the latest IP deals, shall we?
First there was the Novell/SuSE deal, I am not a lawyer, but from what I gathered, it was all a trick to get around the GPL, and apparently it worked so well that the FSF made specific changes to GPL3 to prevent that sort of thing.
What was the deal all about? No one knows really. Microsoft and Novell agree not to sue each other's users, oh goody, so now if I use SuSE, Microsoft cannot sue me over some stupid "Intellectual Property" patent crap that they have, like the one on the FAT filesystem.
Great, that's just great.
But hold on a second, I don't use SuSE, I do however use something made by Novell, it's called Evolution. Hmm, so am I protected or not? I mean, I *am* using Novell's products.
Honestly, WHO CARES. I have nothing to fear from Microsoft. On the other hand, Microsoft has a lot of fear, and it's trying to share the wealth, or the misery.
On the heels of that deals, comes another one, from Xandros, which I honestly do not consider a Linux player, they are trying to create a niche market for themselves and failing miserably, give it up guys. I do think however, that the latest deal between Xandros and Microsoft is just a way to get the media attention, no more, no less. I don't believe such a tiny player like Xandros have anything to offer Microsoft except bragging rights.
A long time ago, about 5 years as of the time of this post, I got mad at RedHat when they discontinued their "RedHat Linux" offering, and switched to the paid-only, enterprise model. I protested by switching to Debian and advocating Debian.
A few things about this decision.
1. I was wrong to get *that* mad at RedHat, yes they did discontinue the most popular distribution (at the time), but they also opened their source code and allowed everyone to clone their enterprise offering. Thank you.
2. Debian has proven rock solid on the desktop and the server, and I am using the "unstable" branch for my desktop, I am not sure what's so "unstable" about it. As for the servers, where I use "stable", forget it, you need a jackhammer to bring this thing down.
3. It looks like there is a lot of dust around, and once it settles, it looks like RedHat will emerge as the only enterprise Linux offering that is sticking the closest to the true Free Software ideas. They rejected Microsoft, they rejected Oracle, and they continue to innovate beyond anyone else in the market.
4. Before all you fanatics start crying Ubuntu, trust me on this one, Ubuntu has a long way to go before it becomes stable enough for me. I have no need for Ubuntu and I do not foresee myself using it anytime soon. I'll stick with Debian thank-you-very-much.
What is my point after all this?
I guess my point is that these contracts, cross-IP deal agreements, whatever you want to call them, are hurting the Linux vendors that sign them more than anything. As I said, the only thing these vendors have to offer Microsoft is bragging rights. Microsoft has everything to gain and nothing to lose. Linux vendors on the other hand are losing user base support.
Just my two cents people, do I hear any comments?