Mr. Shuttleworth gets quote mined (and probably should blog to clear this up)

Conrad Knauer atheoi at
Fri Jun 15 22:08:56 BST 2007

I note that Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is predicting that Ubuntu will
be the next MS 'partner':

He cites as evidence for this:

(1) an out of context quote "I'd love to work with Microsoft..." from
an interview (see in
which Shuttleworth said:

Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won't say
which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: "It's an unsafe
neighbourhood, why don't you pay me 20 bucks and I'll make sure you're
okay," that's illegal. It's racketeering. What Microsoft is doing with
intellectual property is exactly the same. It's a great company and I
have great admiration for it, but this was not a well considered

[Question asked: So you wouldn't do a deal?]

No, absolutely not. But the time will come when the folks at Microsoft
who have a clear vision for the company as a participant in this
community, rather than as a hostile antagonist, will win. At that
point I'd love to work with Microsoft. It's not an evil empire. It's
just a company that is efficiently grounded in the 1980s. New
leadership and new thinking might make it a more effective partner for

More importantly, people need to understand that the risk of a patent
suit associated with Linux, which is a real risk, is far greater from
someone other than Microsoft. Signing a deal with Microsoft doesn't
solve the patent problem at all. It doesn't give you patent immunity.
It gives you immunity from a suit from Microsoft and I really don't
think that's the threat. Microsoft won't win a patent war, so I don't
think they'll start one.

In fact, it was so out of context and contrary to the text of the
article that I would call it a "mined quote"; see (for shame Mr.

Earlier in the article he had made a big point about how the CEO of
Linspire, Kevin Carmony, had changed his tune about patent deals with
MS between when Novell and Xandros made theirs.  But when has Mr.
Shuttleworth been inconsistent with regard to either patents or
proprietary software in Ubuntu?

"I'm in favour of patents in general, but not software or business
method patents."

"we have joined FFII and other organisations that are fighting software patents"

"Ubuntu has included firmware, and used proprietary drivers since its
inception. That's always been a slightly uncomfortable proposition, as
Mako observed, but it's been true since the Warty Warthog. [...] I
hear you when you say "users want proprietary codecs". That's why we
make sure these items ARE available, at the user's option, as packages
on the network repositories. That allows users who need that
functionality, or who choose that functionality over free
alternatives, to exercise that choice freely. We don't make that
choice for them, though of course there is huge demand from real users
for that. And we will stay firm in that regard. Ubuntu does not, and
will never, include proprietary applications."

"I have serious concerns about the Novell-Microsoft deal - and so do
other people who make huge contributions to the body of free software.
Novell and SuSE are of course deeply linked, and so the actions of one
do have consequences for the other. I would expect the same sort of
consequences in Ubuntu if Canonical made poor decision."

"We have to work together to keep free software freely available. It
will be a failure if the world moves from paying for shrink-wrapped
Windows to paying for shrink-wrapped Linux."

(2) Dell is now shipping Ubuntu systems... which Vaughan-Nichols
follows with the unsupported assertion: "I'm sure those desktop users
would also like the goodies that Microsoft and Linspire will be
delivering in Linspire 6 -- namely: access to Microsoft proprietary
multimedia codecs; VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) over Microsoft
IM (instant messaging) compatible clients; and Microsoft fonts."

Personally, if I wanted those things, I'd still be using Windows :P
And given the choice, I'd rather get my proprietary software from Apple ;P

And its not like I can't do VOIP with Ubuntu...  And its not like
there aren't good font replacements for the M$ ones (e.g. the
Liberation ones Red Hat released;

And one of the things Vaughan-Nichols neglected to mention was that
"Linspire will select the Live Search service of Windows Live as the
Linspire 5.0 default Web search engine, allowing Microsoft to bring
Live Search to a broader set of users and providing leading search
capabilities to Linspire customers."

Yuck!  I know I don't want *that* ^_-

(3) He also mentions the Linspire-Ubuntu announcement from a while
back (see, adding
"Sounds to me like it would as easy as falling off a log for Canonical
to add some Microsoft features of its own to Ubuntu Linux

Um, no; "Ubuntu CDs contain only free software applications"
( :) so no proprietary M$ fonts, codecs, etc.

In fact, he stated that Wine wouldn't be installed by default on the
Ubuntu Dells because "While Linux is an alternative to Windows, it is
not cheap Windows. Linux has its own strengths, and users should want
it because of those strengths and not because it's a cheap copy of
Windows" (,1895,2125848,00.asp)

and "My hope is not just that we can achieve parity with the
proprietary world, but that we can leapfrog it"

There are however still questions about the Linspire announcement that
I think Mr. Shuttleworth needs to address though.
states that "Canonical plans to integrate aspects of the open source
CNR technology into Ubuntu's software management system starting with
Ubuntu's Feisty +1 release expected in October 2007."  Will that be on
by default or just tucked away in universe/multiverse/commercial

Also, Sam Varghese comments on  "Will Shuttleworth
continue to collaborate with a company which has now caved in to a
protection racket? Or will he do stick to the principle behind the
whole FOSS movement and walk away from the deal? We're watching and
waiting, Mark."

Based on it sounds like
the bulk of what Linspire made a deal for won't be in Ubuntu, since it
won't be in Freespire:

Will this new option be available in Freespire?

No, for the most part, this new agreement doesn't affect Freespire,
only Linspire. Like the DVD player and other software options Linspire
offers, Linspire must pay a per-unit fee when distributing this new
option. Since Freespire is a free distribution, we are not able to
include it with Freespire. If Freespire users want these new features
(TrueType Fonts, Windows Media 10, etc.), they always have the option
of moving to Linspire. It should be pointed out, however, that this
agreement does include some things, that will be included with
Freespire, such as better interoperability with OpenOffice and
Microsoft Office.

BTW, "better interoperability with OpenOffice and Microsoft Office" is
a euphemism for support for M$ Office 2007's format, their pseudo-open
alternative to the really-open ODF (used in, Koffice
and Gnome Office (Abiword and Gnumeric)).

Vaughan-Nichols concludes:

"if you see some news about Ubuntu partnering up with Microsoft
sometime soon, well, just remember that you read it here first."

I call BS on his article; Vaughan-Nichols was also the one predicting
last year that Freespire would be one of the top distros this year
;) so take his predictions with a grain of salt...  (If I had to pick
a distro that might be next I would have to say Mandriva; note that M$
has been 'partnering' with pay distros and as I recall, Mandriva has
had financial issues and so would be more vulnerable to the lure of
Microsoft's money...)

Sadly though, Vaughan-Nichols' wild speculation is going to make the
rounds, so Mr. Shuttleworth should probably blog about this (and also
clarify what's up with Linspire's CNR)...


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