Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical and Ubuntu Linux, made an interesting post yesterday concerning rumors about a potential MS/Ubuntu deal much like the one that Novell is catching so much flack for with SUSE. I've always liked reading thoughts by Mark. He seems genuine, more so that just about anybody that I've ever met. He states his goals clearly, and his goals always seem to be to make things better for people. What's more, his words are often elegant, and lead me to consider things in a light I hadn't yet considered. In particular, this quote caught my attention:
"A promise by Microsoft not to sue for infringement of unspecified patents has no value at all and is not worth paying for. It does not protect users from the real risk of a patent suit from a pure-IP-holder (Microsoft itself is regularly found to violate such patents and regularly settles such suits). People who pay protection money for that promise are likely living in a false sense of security."
I now know why Windows 95 was code-named "Chicago". Microsoft has placed itself in the protection racket business, much like the Chicago gansters of old. Aren't protection rackets illegal? Apparently not when lawyers write the terms. While Microsoft has become the bully who has found that the teachers who watch the kids at recess are a lot less likely to spot bullying by words rather than by physical actions, Ubuntu is turning into the kid who the bullies try to mess with, and then back off when they realize they can't do anything to them. Of course, bullies tend to be stupid enough to try more severities when they don't get their way, so maybe we'll see an Ubuntu vs. Microsoft fight in our future.
I think when it all comes down to it, this is why I still prefer Ubuntu. I could install Gnome on another distribution and have my notebook work pretty much the same way as before. Red Hat, SUSE, Debian and others are all fine distributions. But with Ubuntu, I feel like I finally have somebody looking out for me.