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Microsoft Promises Not To Sue Moonlight 2.0 Users 233

Posted by timothy
from the even-the-stars-above dept.
darthcamaro writes "Moonlight 2.0, Novell's open source implementation of the Microsoft media framework, is now available and comes with a new patent promise from Microsoft. Any Linux user can use it now without worrying about being sued: '"A really important change in how the community and individuals will see and use Moonlight is a change and extension to the patent covenant that Microsoft provides to Novell and its end users," Brian Goldfarb, director of Web and user experience platforms at Microsoft, told InternetNews.com. "We're now increasing the reach of the agreement — Microsoft's commitment not to sue Novell or Novell's customers now extends to redistributors."'"
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Microsoft Promises Not To Sue Moonlight 2.0 Users

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Please use our format, even if we didn't sell you anything to view it, we promise we won't sue!

    Now that's marketing in action.

  • by lolwhat (1282234) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:56PM (#30476908)
    "Moonlight 2.0, that's Novell's open source implementation of the Microsoft media framework in now available and with comes a new patent promise from Microsoft."
  • by okmijnuhb (575581) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:58PM (#30476944)
    I, in turn, promise not throw a chair at Steve Ballmer's head.
    • by Mikkeles (698461)

      And I promise not to cross the street and pee on him if he's on fire.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088)

      I, in turn, promise not throw a chair at Steve Ballmer's head.

      Yes, but like TFA contract, there are plenty of loopholes if you think hard enough. For example, that doesn't exclude throwing his head at a chair.
         

    • Of course that leaves open the keyboard, monitor, mouse, pens, stapler, glasses, letter opener, and anything else in reach, much easier to throw accurately too.
  • by quangdog (1002624) <quangdog@@@gmail...com> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:00PM (#30476974)
    Just how effective is it to hear "use our stuff - we won't sue!" as the marketing message?

    Guess it's time to try a little test...

    I promise not to sue anyone who buys my iphone apps [incredicode.com].

    There. We'll see how that works out for me.

    *ducks under the desk for cover from the coming flames*
    • by syphax (189065)

      If you're going to (somewhat cleverly) slip an ad for your stuff in here, you may want to make sure the URL doesn't 404. Here you go [incredicode.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mr_lizard13 (882373)

      *ducks under the desk for cover from the coming chair*

      There, fixed that for you.

  • IT'S A TRAP! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:00PM (#30477000)

    Without the DRM pack it is totally worthless. Plus it is far behind silverlight.

    IT'S A TRAP!

  • Sod Off Microsoft (Score:4, Insightful)

    by segedunum (883035) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:01PM (#30477022)
    I'm not the slightest bit interested. The only time I've ever used Silverlight is when I've watched SkyTV online in the UK as a media thingy for your browser. It doesn't interest me elsewhere (and I doubt whether that alone will sustain it long-term), as any kind of 'new' development platform (ActiveX 2.0?) and I'm certainly not interested in using it on non-Windows platforms because said media stuff doesn't work regardless. Just stop trying to legitimise Silverlight on other platforms because you aren't gaining any traction and stop using it to legitimise all of your patent bullshit. Anyone who works under that kind if duress, from a competitor no less, is stir-fry crazy.
    • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:11PM (#30477154) Journal

      nobody is interested. It isn't compatible with major apps that have been forced to use silverlight (as those use the latest version - not this moonlight 2.0), so from a user side there's 0 reason to use the stuff. Additionally, there's still a lack of other licensing and silverlight is a bunch of shit in general, and thankfully when HTML5 adoption comes around all of this garbage will be gone.

      • when HTML5 adoption comes around all of this garbage will be gone.

        I'm curious as to what makes you so sure that's going to happen in a meaningful way.

        I'm not saying that Flash will be the dominant tech of its kind forever, but I wouldn't bet that it won't still be in five years.

      • by clampolo (1159617)

        when HTML5 adoption comes around all of this garbage will be gone.

        I have my doubts about html5. They'll just bury it the way they've successfully buried SVG by refusing to support it in IE.

        • Re:Sod Off Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Dan Ost (415913) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @04:22PM (#30478376)

          Users are becoming savvy enough to know that there are other browser options out there, so if people start using HTML5 and IE doesn't support it, IE will lose users. For that reason, MS can't afford to ignore HTML5.

          I predict that IE will implement enough HTML5 to be able to claim support for it, but the implementation will start out incomplete or not sufficiently robust to offer a good HTML5 experience. This will slow the uptake of HTML5 much like it did with CSS, but since MS no longer has the dominant position they had then, I don't think it'll matter much. If Google offers an improved youtube experience in HTML5, then people will switch to whatever browser supports it.

          The way I see it, MS is no longer trying to win the browser war. They're just trying to stay relevant.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          as someone said below, this might have been an option when IE mattered exclusively, but as it is currently, it matters less what IE does. it's just simply like choosing one less feature to support. Or a car that only supports gas only when every other car supports multiple types(car analogy).

          This would be like a browser refusing to support HTML4. Or do you not remember the reasons for IE to make IE7/8?

    • Re:Sod Off Microsoft (Score:5, Informative)

      by bcrowell (177657) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:21PM (#30480240) Homepage

      I'm certainly not interested in using it on non-Windows platforms because said media stuff doesn't work regardless.

      Yep. I was mildly interested in trying moonlight, because MS has put the famous Feynman lectures on physics [microsoft.com] online for free, in silverlight format. So when I saw the slashdot article today, I thought, OK, I'll try installing moonlight on my ubuntu box and see if it lets me watch the lectures. First off, I do an apt-get install moonlight-plugin-mozilla. Go to the MS web site. "Sorry, Silverlight for your browser is not officially supported. The full list of compatible browsers you [sic] can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/get-started/install/default.aspx [microsoft.com]. Click on the link. "If you are using a Linux, FreeBSD or SolarisOS operating system, please press the Click to Install button to get the appropriate installation package for Silverlight." Okay, I click on the button and it sends me to go-mono.com [go-mono.com]. Download and install it. Restart my browser. Go back to the site for the Feynman lectures. "Sorry, Silverlight for your browser is not officially supported."

      So here's this thing that almost no web site actually uses, and it doesn't actually work. And it's proprietary. And they promise not to sue me for using it. Woo hoo.

  • This helps them to compete with flash much more effectively. Now they are putting rest on doubters to use it on linux. I think this is good. Also, this helps Adobe to work hard on developing much better support for Linux.
    • Re:Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mdm-adph (1030332) <mdmadph@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:18PM (#30477282) Homepage

      That's nice -- why don't Microsoft just release a version of Silverlight for Linux, themselves? Why depend upon some other group? Sure doesn't make me confident in Silverlight/Moonlight's future prospects for maintenance on Linux, that's for sure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

      This helps them to compete with flash much more effectively. Now they are putting rest on doubters to use it on linux. I think this is good. Also, this helps Adobe to work hard on developing much better support for Linux.

      And what do you think will happen if/when MS succeeds in pushing Flash out of the marketplace?

      Just how much peace/love/flowers/self-restraint Microsoft's legal department will have once they no longer need to woo users away from Flash?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tepples (727027)

        And what do you think will happen if/when MS succeeds in pushing Flash out of the marketplace?

        If Microsoft succeeds in making Silverlight match Flash feature-for-feature, people who want to make cartoons on Newgrounds won't have to pay $700, go back to school to qualify for academic pricing, or commit copyright infringement to get a copy of Flash anymore.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          And newgrounds will only work on windows PCs.

          Far better would be if those folks used open source solutions for making cartoons.

      • by Dan Ost (415913)

        And what do you think will happen if/when MS succeeds in pushing Flash out of the marketplace?

        What exactly does flash or silverlight offer that isn't included in HTML5?

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Without the latest features and the DRM pack, moonlight is useless. This is just EEE.

  • That's Microsoft Marketing at its best, isn't it? "Use stuff compatible with ours, we promise we won't sue you."

  • That we have a (rather legitimate) concern of being sued for the arrangement of bits we have access to.

  • Not a prob (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:10PM (#30477138)

    The problem is not being sued.

    The problem is that we don't necessarily want this MS-driven environment to become popular among devs.

    • by Vahokif (1292866)
      Why not? It's better than Flash, and has better runtimes than Flash on all platforms. You can make a point about getting rid of plugins in general but Adobe isn't any better than Microsoft.
  • by joelsherrill (132624) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:10PM (#30477152) Homepage
    The summary specifically says Linux and the article linked to doesn't expand that statement. What about running it on *BSD, Haiku, Minix, RTEMS, etc.? Reading a quote in the article carefully says "redistributors". What is a redistributor? A Novell reseller?
    As a result of today's expansion of that deal, Moonlight users will enjoy protection under the patent covenant regardless of whether they're using Novell's (NASDAQ: NOVL) Linux distro or another distributor's.
    "A really important change in how the community and individuals will see and use Moonlight is a change and extension to the patent covenant that Microsoft provides to Novell and its end users," Brian Goldfarb, director of Web and user experience platforms at Microsoft, told InternetNews.com. "We're now increasing the reach of the agreement -- Microsoft's commitment not to sue Novell or Novell customers now extends to redistributors."

    The first sentence is the author's so reflects their interpretation. The second is a Microsoft person who uses the phrase "not to sue Novell or Novell customers now extends to redistributors". So who does that actually cover?
    • by gmuslera (3436)
      If moonlight is GPL, then redistributors are the ones that use them under that license probably. The problem is what if you want to do something under the scope of GPL that is not specially redistributing it, like i.e. modifying it. Will microsoft package include a "medicine" to prevent it to become viral?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:14PM (#30477198)

    If somebody starts screaming "NO! I'M NOT GOING TO KILL YOU" what should you do? I don't know about you, but I'm running as fast as hell away from that person.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:14PM (#30477212)
    When Steve Balmer says "Fucking Eric Schmidt is a fucking pussy. I'm going to fucking bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to fucking kill Google." [battellemedia.com] we are not supposed to believe this is an actual threat, but when he says "we won't sue you", we're supposed to believe he's telling the literal truth?
  • perhaps... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:16PM (#30477254)

    Perhaps Linux users would feel better if Microsoft was actually hosting the downloads, etc? Maybe pay for a token part time developer?

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      So now you want MS to fund an OSS developer for their competition with no value worth mentioning in return?

      Jesus you fan boys are like teenagers, there will never be a point when you say 'okay, they are making an attempt to be a good community player'. I'm not saying they are, or that they are even really trying, but when you come out and say something that roughly translates too 'they should pay for employees to work for the competition' then you've just gone off the deep end into la la land.

      There is no

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        For their competition?
        They are the ones who want silverlight to be used, not us.

        A GPL client for silverlight would makes lots of folks happy, hell even a closed one made by MS and kept up to date. Moonlight is not truly GPL as the patent promise is not something a GPL app can rely on and be compliant as the promise does not extend to commercial use.

        MS's history is full of EEE, if you fail to see that you are blind. When silverlight gains real marketshare the Mac client will fall behind and moonlight will be

  • I'll start believing Microsoft when they change the slogan for their new operating system to: Windows 7 -- At least it doesn't suck as much as Vista!
  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:19PM (#30477292) Homepage Journal

    What happens to developers? Just in case, we fork out Novell's moonlight tree because they got bought by someone (*cough* mysql, *cough*), will the conventant apply to us? Or does it only apply to code written by Novell & redistributed by others? Does this indirectly kill the freedom to modify & redistribute? like that firefox logo thing?

    Alright, I admit it, I do have an axe to grind against silverlight (and flash too, I guess). But this covenant just goes on to establish precedent in terms of patent coverage ... (yes, note my domain, I've been through this before).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      If 'that firefox logo thing' was bad for you, nothing MS does will ever make you happy. I'm going to wager you are rarely ever happy anyway if thats all it takes to bother you.

  • by greed (112493) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:36PM (#30477590)

    Hmmm....

    As was (once again) pointed out on Groklaw recently, this sort of language is a restriction that is incompatible with the GPL [groklaw.net]. (GPLv2 section 6, much more explicit about patents in GPLv3 section 11.)

    Far safer to avoid Microsoft patented technology than to rely on such a promise.

    • Good thing the copyright holders, the ones that applied the GPL to the code, aren't making the statement.

      I can license code all day long and follow the GPL to the letter and spirit perfectly, and someone else can still come along and sue you because the code violates one of its patents.

      I can't GPL some code and that instantly protects anyone who uses it from being sued by another unrelated party.

      Basically what it comes down to is that you as an end user won't use the software because you are worried about b

  • A promise is not legally binding, right? TFA doesn't provide much detail but I'm a bit skeptical that the Moonlight EULA says anywhere in it, "we will not sue you for using this software."

    Perhaps a legal-type person can shine some light (pun!) on the situation.

  • I hereby promise to you Moonlight on any my Linux machines. So we're cool, right?
  • ...so Microsoft amends Novell's agreement to include most other distributions....

    Microsoft's commitment not to sue Novell or Novell customers now extends to redistributors.

    Hmm...may be its the technology? Perhaps no in else is interested in it?

  • "You can use this software and not worry about us suing you."

    You just can't look at that sentence and not think the whole industry needs to be torn down and rebuilt on new principles. Whether it's the fact that Microsoft and Novell are glad to make such a proclamation, or the fact that someone can be sued for using software to begin with, or the fact that I can get sued by company Y for using company X's product or even if that isn't possible the fact that anyone might think it might be possible.

    What kind o

  • That is the only site that I care about that uses Silverlight. If I can, great. But I tried it last Sunday, with the latest update from the Ubuntu repositories, and I was instructed to install Silverlight. I feel much better that they won't sue me for using their bitch-slap technology to be prevented from watching content, though. I had been losing sleep over that.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Nope. MS refuses to give the moonlight folks the DRM pack. This will never happen, they want to claim interoperability but they don't want it to actually occur.

      The Mac client will be left out in the cold soon enough. All MS software exists first and foremost to protect and ensure the windows desktop monopoly.

  • by kriston (7886) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @04:05PM (#30478108) Homepage Journal

    This element stood out for me:
    "Moonlight includes the Microsoft Media Pack, which is a set of proprietary codecs that Microsoft has licensed from their own patent holders and makes available to Moonlight users, free of charge."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      Also note that Novell will not distribute moonlight with the ffmpeg libs being used instead. They are too in bed with MS for them to allow the user to use truly free software.

  • A document was found, that showed that Hitler promised not to attack other countries and leave the Jews alone.

    Also the pope just revealed that he had a phone call with the devil, who promised not to take away your soul, if you sold it to him.

    And now for something completely different... THE LARCH! ... a gourmet tree, and fine dam material.

    Thank you for watching otter news!

    P.S.: And you thought it was a typo... Ha! ^^

  • What the hell kind of first sentence is that?

    Moonlight 2.0, that's Novell's open source implementation of the Microsoft media framework in now available and with comes a new patent promise from Microsoft.

    It reads like it's three sentences jammed together, it's missing a comma, and I assume "in" is supposed to be "is" and it's still an awkward sentence.

  • "Hey, here's this technology... we won't try and ruin your life if you use it."

    So, uh, what's the good part?

  • by jabjoe (1042100) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @04:22PM (#30478374)
    Judge them by their past actions not words. It's the same old trick we have seen again and again. If you embrace this standard, you will be extended and extinguished. I won't be surprised if there is suing down the line too, despite these promises, which no doubt only cover EXACTLY what there is now, under EXACT circumstances. They are fighting not just for their dominance but their way of doing software. It just takes my breath anyway anyone buys it to this. But these tend to be people who believe everything will be .NET/Mono and the whole thin client thing, sorry cloud thing too. Not sure how fat apps fit into the thin client view, but there you go....Maybe it will work better than it did last time with Java and thin clients, maybe BECAUSE of MS's embrace, extend, extinguish. But if it does, it will do nothing but greatly harm any platform not MS's, which harms everyone. Think IE without Firefox turning up, or Windows (Vista) without Linux netbooks turning up.
  • by FunkyELF (609131) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @04:31PM (#30478500)

    One of the main reasons I got into open source software is because I didn't like the idea that newer versions of software could cost anything.
    Why invest time in learning Photoshop when this version costs $600 but the next version may cost $3,000.
    Some might say, just keep using the version you already bought. What happens when you can't buy a computer that comes with an OS that your version is compatible with?

    Microsoft saying, "We won't sue users of Moonlight 2.0", is saying what about 2.0.1, or 2.5, or 4.0.

  • by NotPeteMcCabe (833508) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @04:33PM (#30478524)
    There's nothing to worry about; the program is named wontsueforsure.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:09PM (#30479128)

    I am no fanboy. My machine has an NVIDIA card and tuns of closed-source games on it.

    That said, I am not stupid. I know that if Silverlight ever becomes a dominant force in the realm of content delivery, MS will stab me in the back by either deliberately slowing development on the Linux version, or making it incompatible with the latest version that runs on Windows.

    We should stick with Flash. It may suck, but at least it isn't controlled by a monopoly OS vendor who lacks any kind of ethics.

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