Mandriva Linux says no Patent deal with Microsoft

Mandriva, the company formerly known as Mandrakesoft, that publishes the Mandriva GNU/Linux operating system says on a posting on the company blog by CEO Fran├žois Bancilhon that there will be no cross-licensing pact with Microsoft. Mandriva has offices in the U.S., France, and Brazil and sells in more than 140 countries through dedicated channels and through the the company online store.

Novell, Xandros and Linspire have so far signed patent related deals with Microsoft, particularly after Microsoft claimed that Linux and other Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) violate 235 Microsoft patents. With this announcement Mandriva becomes the 3rd major Linux company, after Ubuntu and Red Hat, to reject a cross-licensing deal with Microsoft. In terms of Microsoft’s agreements with Linux providers, now it’s 3-3.

One big reason Red Hat, Ubuntu, and now Mandriva, has rejected patent licensing with Microsoft is that Microsoft has never identified the patents; Without evidence of infringement, infringers (and even criminals) are ‘Innocent till Proven Guilty’. To Quote:

So it seems like a thinly veiled attempt to send a signal to the FOSS community to line up and drop their pants to Microsoft, or rather to find out the reaction from the open source community (including large enterprises that use both Microsoft and Linux computers).

Mandriva, on the other hand, has even better reasons not to strike a deal with the arch-enemy. Mandriva’s biggest market is in the Europe, and the European Patent Convention of 1973 doesn’t recognize software patents. It’s unlikely that Microsoft will risk a patent infringement claim in Europe.

Is Mandriva, standing up to Microsoft, or is this a good publicity ploy?