Seeing this (wherein the author leaves suse for kubuntu as a result of the recent hubbub) reminds me that Ubuntu still has no clear patent policy that I can find, nor are they (again, as far as I can tell) contributing to some of the anti-patent work being done by others. Compare to Red Hat’s strong patent policy, to Novell’s continued support of OIN, Red Hat’s support of NoSoftwarePatents.com, or IBM and Red Hat’s support of the patent peer review project. (Novell’s open letter gives a list of such steps they’ve taken; Red Hat has noted some caveats on some of Novell’s claims there. However you slice it, Novell has done more than Ubuntu/Canonical on this critical issue, even if you think their agreement with MS may make it a two steps forward/two steps back situation.)
Am I overlooking something, guys, gals? I’d like to think that the distro I’m using would take a clear stand on patents, and use some of their resources to make the situation better, but I’m not seeing it from Ubuntu/Canonical. I think that given Ubuntu’s position on mp3s, I’m pretty sure that Ubuntu, corporately, does have the right overall perspective on patents. But given where we are right now, it would be better if they came out and made it explicit, like Red Hat has done, instead of just implied by their codec packaging choices.
[Amusingly, or perhaps depressingly, the only page you get using the ubuntu.com search tool that mentions patents is… a broken link.]
[Ed: again, I hate wordpress’s whitespace handling. Anyone who has a fix for it, please let me know.]
[Ed. later: As I’ve pointed out in discussing IBM’s patents, I can at least understand any company that is pro-patent. So if Ubuntu wants to come out in favor of patents, but against the current patent system, as IBM has done, that would be understandable. What I primarily want right now is transparency- I want to be able to judge Ubuntu one way or the other, instead of the current situation, where they’ve been given a free pass to say nothing.]