Microsoft's Embedded Linux Deal With Kyocera May Not Be About Embedded Linux - InformationWeek

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11/19/2007
09:22 AM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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Microsoft's Embedded Linux Deal With Kyocera May Not Be About Embedded Linux

After reading about Microsoft cutting a deal with Kyocera to cross-license some of its patents in certain embedded Linux devices, I wondered if this really had anything to do with Linux at all.  Many of the posts I've read on the subject have taken that to be the case, but is that true?

After reading about Microsoft cutting a deal with Kyocera to cross-license some of its patents in certain embedded Linux devices, I wondered if this really had anything to do with Linux at all.  Many of the posts I've read on the subject have taken that to be the case, but is that true?

I started by recalling what it was that Kyocera made -- mainly multifunction copiers, essentially high-volume printers for workgroups.  Perhaps all that's happening here is nothing more sinister than Kyocera licensing certain Microsoft protocols or technologies, such as SMB or NTFS (or maybe their fonts, as some people have speculated), in a Linux implementation.

In short, this probably isn't about MS claiming ownership of embedded Linux -- it's about Kyocera wanting to guarantee proper compatibility with aspects of Windows for certain devices that run embedded Linux.  It's just that the wording of the deal, as is often the case in such things, is so wretchedly vague that it's impossible to say exactly what's covered.

Unless someone intimately involved with the deal spills the beans, it will be difficult to say.  But I seriously doubt that even Microsoft is arrogant enough to claim it owns embedded Linux, or some statement to that effect.  They can't be that foolish.  (Can they?)

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