05.26.07

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A Look Back at Noteworthy Stories

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, GPL, Interoperability, Law, Microsoft, Novell, OSDL, Patent Covenant, Patents at 10:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is no point in denying the fact that the past fortnight has been crazy. We have seen a mountain of tension erupting, with many consequences to explore. Here is a bunch of very recently stories that are worth a mention.

The first is a one-page report [PDF warning] with a legal point of view. It argues that Microsoft officially jumped the shark on May 14th. It comments on the Forbes article which broke the news and then suggests that careful attention was paid to the need for dramatic effect.

“This article has been written with a great deal of skill. It has painted the scenario in a dramatic manner and one which highlights some dire consequences. It even ends on an enigmatic phone call to Mr Ballmer, in which he ominously declines to cross a bridge (that would be the ‘sue your customers’ bridge, not the One-Step-Closer-to-Patent-Armageddon bridge–that’s been crossed already)…”

Yesterday, Shane wrote a nice short piece on the economic of FUD. He was referring to the Linux Foundation’s official rebuttal in BusinessWeek. The story behind this succinct LF rebuttal is told by one of its members, who also explains the role of the LF.

The Linux Foundation was formed to perform a number of roles: one is to speak out on issues of concern to the Linux ecosystem in particular, and open source in general. Another is what we refer to internally by the shorthand handle as “the Legal Protect” function. That means that we launch internally as well support externally a variety of initiatives that legally strengthen the Linux ecosystem.

Here is a piece explaining what Microsoft fears more than GNU/Linux. It is what some believe to be the inevitable transition to Free software everywhere.

I believe their [Microsoft's] choice of defense gives us the clue: they are hinting strongly at a possible battle with intellectual property (IP). They see don’t see Linux as the real threat: they see the goals and ideals of free and open source software taking hold and becoming the main threat. Because in Microsoft’s nightmare world where copyleft and open source becomes the norm, they would begin to lose their IP and the very thing they think makes them Microsoft.

[...]

Choke off the “oxygen” of free software, and you might eliminate the threat. Or, specifically in Microsoft’s case, poison the atmosphere instead. They get the same results.

This is very much validated by the fact that Microsoft has stubbornly attacked the GPL recently. The licence comes under fire from a large number of directions and if you follow the money trail, then you usually find Microsoft.

In news relating more closely to Novell, Groklaw suggests that SCO’s case against Novell has almost run out of steam. In reference to their new fight for a patent reform, one might find articles with deceiving headlines, such as “EFF Defends Novell Partnership” (but not necessarily Novell’s partnership with Microsoft). Similar deceiving headlines were spotted when Google was asked to open up more. The headlines could be interpreted as though Eben Moglen demands, through the GPLv3, that Google should make all of its source code openly available.

Microsoft gets a voice in another article where it explains why one needs to pay for interoperability, rather than rely on standards (not implementation). It’s another shot calling for distributors to repeat Novell’s mistake.

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A Single Comment

  1. gpl1 said,

    May 27, 2007 at 12:51 am

    Gravatar

    KSR v Teleflex was certainly an important factor in this feeling (in the US). Microsoft waited too long, for some reason.

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