06.19.07

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Did the Intellectual Property Threats Fail, Backfire, or Had No Effect?

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, Formats, FUD, GNU/Linux, Interview, Microsoft, Novell at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some of us would love to argue that the deals with Microsoft have little or no effect on the decisions made by an IT manager. Last month, a poll found that Microsoft’s deals did it more harm than good. Managers may in fact use Microsoft’s aggression as an excuse to boost their use of Free software.

Here is another interesting point of view. We seem to have overlooked the fact that a bogus relationship with “the open source community” plays a role too. Although it is not the purpose of the deals (consider document format monopoly and IP ‘tax’, among other things), the following aspect is definitely worth considering.

…overall, Microsoft’s pacts with open source vendors are likely to have little impact on IT shops. “It’s all probably just a fact-finding mission for them or a way to say they’re involved with the open source community so people like myself won’t say they’re not a player,” said Vince Arcuri, manager of Unix administration at Home Shopping Network in St. Petersburg, Fla.

In other words, attempts to squash Free software can actually be spun in order to pretend there is some affinity and reciprocity. We have seen this whenever Novell sidled with Microsoft (and vice versa), but we must also learn from history how these relationships end up. The article cited above concludes that the deals will have no effect on IT managers, who will continue deploying Linux with confidence.

In another new article which quotes Jim Zemlin, it is eloquently explained why Microsoft faces the infamous SCO dilemma and it will therefore not sue.

“The reality is that they are not going to sue a single customer,” says Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “It would not be in their business interest. Microsoft is not going to sue their customers.”

The Linux Foundation seems to be missing a few low-profile-yet-worrisome events. And how can a day pass without FUD from the white collar press? A new Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) talks about Linux getting a price tag because of Microsoft. Where is the balance in a responsible discussion?

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