No Microsoft Patent Deal for Ubuntu

Shuttleworth rules out any kind of deal with Microsoft concerning patents, but he doesn't close the door entirely on other kinds of partnerships with Microsoft.

In a recent column, I speculated that Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, might make Ubuntu the next Linux distribution to make a deal with Microsoft.

Now, Shuttleworth, in his latest blog post, denies that possibility, writing, "We have declined to discuss any agreement with Microsoft under the threat of unspecified patent infringements."

Shuttleworth also states that this speculation in the media has been thoroughly and elegantly debunked in the blogosphere—but not before the damage was done. The blog he referred to details how the quote I used comes from an interview with Shuttleworth in which Shuttleworth makes it extremely clear that he wont entertain any kind of patent deal with Microsoft.

The matter has also been hotly spoken about in some of the Ubuntu mailing lists.

Unfortunately, no one seems to have actually read my column. I never said that Ubuntu might be making a patent deal with Microsoft. I said, it "would be as easy as falling off a log for Canonical to add some Microsoft features of its own to Ubuntu Linux distribution."

I was talking about the features like those added by Linspire in its deal. These included: VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) compatibility over Microsoft IM (instant message) compatible clients; Microsoft audio and video codec support; and TrueType fonts. Ill also speculate that, like the Novell, Xandros, and Linspire deals, a Ubuntu deal might also include work on technical interoperability between Linux and Windows.

Ill also add that none of the Linux companies that have made any kind of patent agreements with Microsoft have agreed with Microsofts bogus position that Linux violates any of Microsofts patents.

Its Microsoft, not the Linux companies, that mumbles underneath its breath that these deals somehow prove in some obscure way that they need patent protection from Microsoft. The Linux companies that have partnered with Microsoft categorically deny this.

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