Why Banshee May NOT Put Ubuntu, Canonical At Risk! 1


This post is a reply to the post located here. The author discusses how the use of Mono and C# will prove to be the downfall of Linux (and specifically Canonical and Ubuntu), because Microsoft will attack it with patents. Like most of the FUD stories now, they bring up the fact that Novell is selling 882 patents (that we still don’t know specifics about) to a Microsoft/Oracle/Apple consortium.

Now I will agree with the author that the patent deal MAY be a bad thing. And that using technologies where you have limited control over them is a bad idea. But there are some things that the author overlooks (or chooses not to mention because it doesn’t play well into any FUD campaigns).

Things like:

1. Novell (and Attachmate through their purchase) are producers of Open Source software. They aren’t going to do anything to cut their own throats. Now it can be argued that they will have licenses to the patents. But, if everyone else gets sued, no one will buy their products either–license or not.

2. Canonical is not blind. They have to be researching everything. So, if they even think there’s a hint of a potential patent issue, it’s in their best interests as a company to avoid the issue. If they’re using Banshee, it’s because they don’t feel it’s an issue.

3. If a patent issue comes up, then Canonical will switch their default music player (or whatever application) to an open system. Simple enough. They can even put out an update which will make this retroactive to previous versions.

When the update is pushed out, they can make it something the end user can choose to do or not. (Along with this, they’ll have to issue a warning which essentially states that there are patent issues with Banshee (or whatever application) and the end-user is on their own if they continue to use it).

If there’s such a concern about the use of Mono, then the author (and other dissenters) would do more good by pushing the applications’ developers to use a more open technology–NOT by slamming companies or distributions for their choices.

Or even better, FORK the application into a technology that isn’t encumbered by potential patent issues. That’s the beauty of Open Source. If you don’t like it, you can either change it, or find someone who will.

As for the Novell patents, UNTIL we know what patents are being sold, and UNTIL we know what effects they will have, we shouldn’t judge or worry. After all, when we find out what patents are being sold, the developers will have time to work around them.

So, until we know for sure what impacts are coming, we shouldn’t spread FUD of our own. After all, that just puts us at the same level as the companies who are using FUD to benefit themselves.

Have a great day:)
Patrick.


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