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Ubuntu chief mua muas Microsoft

Dirty uncle not welcome

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Leader of the Ubuntu tribe Mark Shuttleworth has no plans to invite dirty uncle Microsoft over for patent protection talks.

Canonical's CEO this weekend spanked rumor mongers for suggesting that his company may go the way of Linspire, Xandros and Novell. All of these software makers have formed recent deals with Microsoft around patent "protection." Microsoft, some of you might have heard, has grumbled that Linux and related software could probably – wink, nod – infringe on its patents.

"We have declined to discuss any agreement with Microsoft under the threat of unspecified patent infringements," Shuttleworth wrote on his blog.

And why not, Shuttle man?

Allegations of "infringement of unspecified patents" carry no weight whatsoever. We don’t think they have any legal merit, and they are no incentive for us to work with Microsoft on any of the wonderful things we could do together. A promise by Microsoft not to sue for infringement of unspecified patents has no value at all and is not worth paying for. It does not protect users from the real risk of a patent suit from a pure-IP-holder (Microsoft itself is regularly found to violate such patents and regularly settles such suits). People who pay protection money for that promise are likely living in a false sense of security.

Shuttleworth then dished out the obligatory "we welcome Microsoft with open arms" statement around interoperability between Linux and Windows.

"I have no objections to working with Microsoft in ways that further the cause of free software, and I don’t rule out any collaboration with them, in the event that they adopt a position of constructive engagement with the free software community," Shuttleworth said. "It’s not useful to characterize any company as 'intrinsically evil for all time.'"

Later, however, he closed: "All the deals announced so far strike me as 'trinkets in exchange for air kisses.' Mua mua. No thanks."

Mua mua indeed. ®

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