What About 'No' Doesn't Microsoft Understand?

Lora Bentley

Microsoft is still pushing for an indemnity deal with Red Hat -- despite the fact that Red Hat has clearly declined the offer more than once. Maybe it's that the software juggernaut has successfully signed deals with other Linux distributors -- from Novell last year to Linspire just last week -- or maybe Microsoft's decision makers are convinced persistence will pay off.


Nonetheless, Red Hat isn't budging. According to spokesperson Leigh Day,

We continue to believe that open source and the innovation it represents should not be subject to an unsubstantiated tax that lacks transparency.

Red Hat doesn't think Microsoft will actually sue Linux users, according to Local Tech Wire, but the leading Linux distributor will stand behind its customers if the patent threats do result in litigation. Not only will the company repair or replace infringing code, but it will pick up customers' legal bills.


And Red Hat isn't the only one taking a firm stand against the team in Redmond. Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth is also confirming that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, will not consider a deal with Microsoft. Techworld quotes a recent Shuttleworth blog post:

We have declined to discuss any agreement with Microsoft under the threat of unspecified patent infringements.

Though the interoperability portions of the deals that Microsoft has entered in the last few months don't bother Shuttleworth, he says the patent protection provisions are not supportive of free software -- and not very smart on Microsoft's part.

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