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In a move that's going to raise a lot of eyebrows, Microsoft has joined the Open Invention Network to 'protect Linux and other important open source workloads from patent assertions'.

For those who haven't heard of the OIN, their mission statement is quite a simple and honourable one "The Open Invention Network is a shared defensive patent pool with the mission to protect Linux.". To find out more about the OIN see here.

Hold the phone, this isn't gaming news?

Correct. However, this is still very interesting and extremely surprising from a company that has been pretty hostile to Linux in the past. It's the kind of move that could result in some big shifts in the entire industry.

We know Microsoft’s decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some; it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents. For others who have followed our evolution, we hope this announcement will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to customers and developers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs. 

Surprising is one word for it! Honestly, I'm in shock at this news. Does this mean we can firmly put the "Embrace, extend, and extinguish" phrase to rest and replace it with Embrace, extend, and protect? With Microsoft joining, they're bringing with them around 60,000 patents.

Moves like that, makes me seriously think about how Microsoft have changed, especially since their previous CEO Steve Ballmer called Linux "a cancer".

I think it also shows how far Linux has come as a platform for all things too, especially with Microsoft having a "Windows Subsystem for Linux" along with their support for running Linux on their Azure cloud computing platform.

What do you think to this?

24 Likes, Who?
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121 comments
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anarchist_tomato 12 October 2018 at 5:45 am UTC
TemplarGRLinux is going to conquer the whole world. It is a matter of when, not if. So Microsoft is making the right moves... I expect them to turn Windows into a Linux distro + proprietary libraries/API/DE at some point. It will be cheaper for them to maintain, will be able to enter most markets Windows can't enter/dominate now, like mobiles/servers, and will still allow them to be top dog, assuming they create a good and polished Linux based desktop OS and make linux-compatible versions of their stuff like Office...

People may laugh at this idea now, but it is an inevitability. Trust me. It may not happen in 5 or even 10 years, but it will eventually... The traditional "pay for a Windows licence" model is dead.

Well I'll call myself a sceptic, but saying you're right, do you think in that scenario MS would eventually start investing in and coding within Wine? If Valve are bring Wine up to scratch, perhaps MS would finish up the job?
MayeulC 12 October 2018 at 7:40 am UTC
anarchist_tomato
TemplarGRLinux is going to conquer the whole world. It is a matter of when, not if. So Microsoft is making the right moves... I expect them to turn Windows into a Linux distro + proprietary libraries/API/DE at some point. It will be cheaper for them to maintain, will be able to enter most markets Windows can't enter/dominate now, like mobiles/servers, and will still allow them to be top dog, assuming they create a good and polished Linux based desktop OS and make linux-compatible versions of their stuff like Office...

People may laugh at this idea now, but it is an inevitability. Trust me. It may not happen in 5 or even 10 years, but it will eventually... The traditional "pay for a Windows licence" model is dead.

Well I'll call myself a sceptic, but saying you're right, do you think in that scenario MS would eventually start investing in and coding within Wine? If Valve are bring Wine up to scratch, perhaps MS would finish up the job?

In that scenario, I think it would be much easier for them to just recompile the win32 API over a Linux abstraction layer (which is likely just a matter of linking against the right libc), together with other various parts of their OS, which is actually quite modular (and why not use their code, since they have access to it? It would also remain closed-source). Things like Object Management might need a rework, or they could pick up Wine's implementation, but I am not a specialist.

That outcome seems a bit unlikely, though. And if they do it, they are probably going to get there progressively.
Appelsin 12 October 2018 at 10:53 am UTC
QuoteDoes this mean we can firmly put the "Embrace, extend, and extinguish" phrase to rest and replace it with Embrace, extend, and protect?

I'd wager assimilation rather than protection. As for protection, I suspect it's more a case of "if we can't steal 'em, noone else will get to either."


And no, I'm not giving Microsoft the benefit of the doubt. We'll see, the day they kill off DX, open source it, and merge what ever aspects of DX that might be worth keeping into Vulkan, and makes Excel/MSOffice available on Linux natively. Then we'll talk about Microsoft having actually turned a new page, instead of putting make-up on the good 'ol pig

QuoteWe are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.


Last edited by Appelsin at 12 October 2018 at 10:53 am UTC
amatai 12 October 2018 at 11:35 am UTC
AppelsinI'd wager assimilation rather than protection. As for protection, I suspect it's more a case of "if we can't steal 'em, noone else will get to either."
But they get tons of money from patent attack on Linux (directly or via patent troll, look for intelectual venture founded by Gate & co).
Maybe its war between services but assimilation is the most likely, Linux is no longer a threat, why?
jens 12 October 2018 at 12:05 pm UTC
AppelsinAnd no, I'm not giving Microsoft the benefit of the doubt. We'll see, the day they kill off DX, open source it, and merge what ever aspects of DX that might be worth keeping into Vulkan, and makes Excel/MSOffice available on Linux natively. Then we'll talk about Microsoft having actually turned a new page, instead of putting make-up on the good 'ol pig

I guess you know that your demands are completely unrealistic. It is perfectly cool that you'll never trust Microsoft's moves regardless of what they do. Please just state it like this. ;)


Last edited by jens at 12 October 2018 at 12:09 pm UTC
Appelsin 12 October 2018 at 12:52 pm UTC
amatai
AppelsinI'd wager assimilation rather than protection. As for protection, I suspect it's more a case of "if we can't steal 'em, noone else will get to either."
But they get tons of money from patent attack on Linux (directly or via patent troll, look for intelectual venture founded by Gate & co).
Maybe its war between services but assimilation is the most likely, Linux is no longer a threat, why?

They are sticking their noses into more and more Linux centric services, foundations and whatnot. Thus they can influence the internal politics of those. And while they might make money from patent attacks, they could realise that being on the inside and preventing other companies from possibly stealing and licensing technologies they rely on, they'll rather "protect" them to keep using them. Note, that I'm only specualting in a very cynical state of mind here


jens
AppelsinAnd no, I'm not giving Microsoft the benefit of the doubt. We'll see, the day they kill off DX, open source it, and merge what ever aspects of DX that might be worth keeping into Vulkan, and makes Excel/MSOffice available on Linux natively. Then we'll talk about Microsoft having actually turned a new page, instead of putting make-up on the good 'ol pig

I guess you know that your demands are completely unrealistic. It is perfectly cool that you'll never trust Microsoft's moves regardless of what they do. Please just state it like this. ;)

Yeah, I'm under no illusions that it'll actually happen anytime soon, and if it does, 99.99% certainly not for the "right" reasons ;)
Nevertheless, I'm a bit relucant to say "never", since there are moves they could make to actually show that it's more than a marketing scheme (or at least make a very convincing show of it). If they were to actually "love open source" by making (non-gimped) Office available on Linux, open DX --> merge to Vulkan, then I'd be inclined to think that "yes, maybe Microsoft actually want to redeem themselves. At least, their actions are pointing in that direction, so yeah, OK, I'll give them a chance."

What I'm getting at is "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". I could come to "trust" Microsoft if they were willing to show their good intent in a spectacular way, but marketing slogans and posturing only deepens the mistrust and feeling og ill intent. Unrealistic? Yes. Night impossible? Yes. Completely and utterly impossible? No.
tuubi 12 October 2018 at 1:36 pm UTC
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This conversation is getting a bit surreal. People arguing about whether we should trust Microsoft? Really?

I don't see why I should trust Microsoft even as far as I trust other gigantic corporations like Google, Amazon, Facebook or Coca Cola. Which is about as far as I can throw a hippo. There's just no chance of any of them ever putting the consumer before the investor or ideals before profit. Except maybe where forced to do so by governments.

In fact, I think it's extremely naïve to ever truly trust a public corporation. We buy their products knowing (and ignoring) that while they might be cheap, or even the only convenient option due to a market monopoly or whatever, they sure as hell don't deserve our trust for either of these reasons. They are not cheap because they want you to have an opportunity to enjoy their products, and they aren't the only option because nobody else wanted a slice of the cake. Ideally we should be able to trust the system(s) to keep the corporations in check and protect our rights, but we all know that these multinationals have more power than some nations.

But hey, capitalism—in the form it takes in the real world—depends on people going against their best interests. Otherwise none of these businesses would have had the opportunity to corner their respective markets as they did.
cprn 12 October 2018 at 2:10 pm UTC
I'll believe they've "changed" when they make all their new DirectX releases just thin open source wrappers around Vulkan and only support GPUs with open drivers. Now that would raise a lot of eyebrows. Mostly in Nvidia corner.
Dedale 12 October 2018 at 4:19 pm UTC
I will believe they have changed when they manage to be a significant part of an industrial ecosystem without harming it.
jens 12 October 2018 at 4:52 pm UTC
tuubiThis conversation is getting a bit surreal. People arguing about whether we should trust Microsoft? Really?

I don't see why I should trust Microsoft even as far as I trust other gigantic corporations like Google, Amazon, Facebook or Coca Cola. Which is about as far as I can throw a hippo. There's just no chance of any of them ever putting the consumer before the investor or ideals before profit. Except maybe where forced to do so by governments.

In fact, I think it's extremely naïve to ever truly trust a public corporation. We buy their products knowing (and ignoring) that while they might be cheap, or even the only convenient option due to a market monopoly or whatever, they sure as hell don't deserve our trust for either of these reasons. They are not cheap because they want you to have an opportunity to enjoy their products, and they aren't the only option because nobody else wanted a slice of the cake. Ideally we should be able to trust the system(s) to keep the corporations in check and protect our rights, but we all know that these multinationals have more power than some nations.

But hey, capitalism—in the form it takes in the real world—depends on people going against their best interests. Otherwise none of these businesses would have had the opportunity to corner their respective markets as they did.

Trusting is indeed the wrong wording. I guess most people here, me including, are discussing if the relation between company and customer is more a win-win or more of a win-loose. Some companies want to earn a profit by somehow improving the situation of their customers in the broadest sense (win-win), other just want to earn a profit while solemnly cheating on their customers (win-loose). Most companies are somewhere in-between of that wide spectrum and some tend to shift a little bit in one direction or the other once in a while imho.


Last edited by jens at 12 October 2018 at 4:53 pm UTC. Edited 2 times.
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