Shuttleworth denies Ubuntu-Microsoft deal

A Microsoft licensing deal isn't needed by Ubuntu's user community, he says

Canonical chief executive Mark Shuttleworth has made it clear that Ubuntu isn't interested in forming a deal with Microsoft along the lines of those recently reached by Linspire, Xandros and Novell.

"We have declined to discuss any agreement with Microsoft under the threat of unspecified patent infringements," Shuttleworth said in a blog post on Saturday.

His remarks follow speculation in the press that, following Linspire's agreement with Microsoft last week, Linspire partner Ubuntu might follow suit.

As part of the agreement between Linspire and Microsoft, the companies have agreed to cooperate in several areas. Linspire will work with Novell and Microsoft to develop open-source "translators" that allow Open Office and Microsoft Office users to share documents more easily. The company has also licensed Microsoft's RT audio codec to make its Pidgin IM client interoperable with Windows Live Messenger and other Microsoft products.

As part of the deal, Linspire also pledged to add support for Windows Media 10 in future releases of its Linux OS distribution. The company also agreed to make Windows Live Search the default search engine in Linspire 5.0.

However, as with recent Microsoft agreements with Novell and Xandros, another aspect of the deal has been raising hackles in the open source community -- the purchase by Linspire of protection from patent lawsuits. Microsoft says Linux infringes a number of its patents, and that Linux companies should sign up to patent licensing deals.

The structure of the Linspire, Xandros and Novell deals, has allowed the open source companies to argue that they are merely interoperability agreements, and to deny that they are agreeing to Microsoft's patent claims. Meanwhile, Microsoft has publicized the agreements as proof of its patents' hold over Linux and other open source software.

Shuttleworth said he has no problem with the interoperability side of Linspire-style agreements.

But he said the real purpose of the recent deals has been to increase Microsoft's influence.

"I don't believe that the intent of the current round of agreements is supportive of free software, and in fact I don't think it's particularly in Microsoft's interests to pursue this agenda either," Shuttleworth wrote.

He said Microsoft's intellectual property arguments are not valid, and that in any case an agreement offering protection from them would be no real barrier to litigation.

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

He didn't rule out collaboration with Microsoft further down the line, if it would bring any real value to open source software.

"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," he wrote. "It's not useful to characterize any company as 'intrinsically evil for all time.'"

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?