05.21.07

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Press and Blog Reaction to Latest Saber Rattling

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Patents at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Frank J. Ohlhorst wonders how far Microsoft is willing to go and whether its own weaknesses and vulnerabilities are the cause for action.

If you can’t beat them, sue them. Linux has finally awakened the sleeping giant: Microsoft’s legal department.

The Free Software Foundation responds as well, saying that Microsoft patent claims don’t add up.

The Free Software Foundation Europe responded to Microsoft’s patent claims against Linux and open source late last week by stating that the company’s actions don’t suggest patent claims in Microsoft’s favor.

ComputerWorld repeats the latest FUD, echoing Microsoft’s request for ‘tax’ and lack of interest in litigation of any kind. Some argue that nothing has changed and that it’s just “business as usual”.

Voices of the community concur and say that Microsoft will never sue.

Of course they won’t sue. Like the SCO case MSFT financed, it would likely crumble during discovery. It’s the potential of a lawsuit that MSFT will use to create the FUD they feel is necessary to convince people to shy away from open source products and instead fall back to MSFT products.

With or without litigation, a lot of damage (to Microsoft) may have already been done.

Very interesting ploy from Microsoft, I can’t say I agree with the tactic as I think it’s just going to create more negative publicity for Microsoft and alienate the Open Source community even more…

Here is a very strong rebuttal from Open Source Industry Australia (OSIA). It says that Microsoft is in fact admitting the weakness of its patent by refusing to be specific.

Open Source Industry Australia Limited (OSIA) welcomes this week’s admission by Microsoft in magazine articles, including Fortune magazine, that the patents it has identified against open source are liable to be struck out as invalid.

“We’ve tried to work it out, but their reasoning is lost on us,” said OSIA director Brendan Scott. “They’re worried the patents will be invalid, so they’re not disclosing them. In the next breath they say its fair for everyone else to pay them for the same patents. You’d have to be a bit of a dope wouldn’t you?”

Last but not least, here is a column suggesting that Microsoft may have already violated a licence it had accepted, namely the GPL(v2).

Yet that is not a far-fetched conclusion – not after the deal that Dell cut with Microsoft recently. You see, as a result of striking this deal, Microsoft has effectively become a Linux distributor. It gets SUSE Linux licences from Novell and distributes them to Dell.

The GPLv2, the existing version of the GPL that is, stipulates that if a person or company distributes software that is under the GPL, then that person or company is also bound by the terms of the same licence.

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