Ubuntu Founder Says No To Any Potential Patent-based Deal With MS

The Linux / Microsoft patent war rages on it seems. Many Linux distributors have decided to make deals with Microsoft in the wake of their patent claims while others have dismissed it out of hand. There is widespread speculation about who will jump into bed with MS next, many people say Mandriva, others Ubuntu and some even claiming that Red Hat will bury the hatchet with their old enemies and do a deal. I’m not sure who will make the jump next but I’m glad about one big piece of news to emerge this week, it won’t be Ubuntu.

In a comment on his own blog Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has dismissed any talk of a deal with Microsoft where patents are concerned. The comment was made on an unrelated post and can be hard to find.


Mark Shuttleworth“Neither Canonical nor the Ubuntu project have any interest in signing an agreement with Microsoft on the back of the threat of unspecified patents. We have consistently (but politely ;-)) declined to pursue those conversations with Microsoft, in the absence of any details of the alleged patent infringements.”

As an Ubuntu user I’m reassured to hear Mark saying this. I’ve said in the past that working with Microsoft on interoperability with Windows could be very beneficial for the Linux community. I don’t think shutting ourselves off from them is a good idea and maybe some deals could be done but not… I repeat NOT on the back of patent claims and certainly not in any way which strengthens those bogus claims. It seems Mark Shuttleworth shares this view, he went on to say the following:

Mark Shuttleworth –
“Speaking for myself, I welcome Microsoft’s openness to the idea of improving interoperability between free software components such as OpenOffice and Microsoft Office,” and in relation to ODF “Instead of OpenXML, I would urge Microsoft to join the ODF working group. “

So, all good news for Ubuntu fans I think and personally I’m pleased with this standpoint. I’m sure many other distributions will follow suit but unfortunately I can’t help thinking it could split the Linux community right down the middle, creating a divide between those who will accept Microsoft’s terms and those who won’t. This is probably exactly what MS wants and we must prevent it from happening by keeping communication channels open between followers of all distributions.

One for all and all for one 🙂


  1. Well, a few months later, and it remains just Novell, Linspire and Xandros that have jumped into bed with the guys from Redmond. Says a lot doesn’t it?

    Nice blog…

  2. Thanks 🙂 I think Red Hat seriously considered a deal with MS but backed off when they saw the fall out hitting Novell. They definitely had some high level discussions. It’s good to see that no other distributions have joined them to date for sure.

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