10.23.07

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More on Why the Agreement in Europe Simply Sucks!

Posted in America, Europe, Finance, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 11:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The other day we suggested the the agreement in Europe was actually a victory for Microsoft, even though the press would like you to believe other things. A day went by and FFII, among other parties, have had time to study the deal and respond.

EU tells open source to start paying MS patent tax

EU Commissioner Kroes’ deal with Microsoft creates real dangers to Europe’s growing open source economy, warns the FFII. Using patent licenses that exclude businesses, the software monopolist has turned the EU competition ruling into a victory, and now gets implicit support from the Commission to proceed aggressively against its competitors.

Mr. Webbink says more:

Yes, open source will have access to the interoperability information on “reasonable” terms (ask independent open source developers how many can afford to cough up the $15,000 such access will cost), but nothing in this statement indicates the Commission has overcome Microsoft’s “refusa[al] to make the [patent] licence compatible with the open source business model.” In fact, we can expect that nothing about that patent license will be compatible with the most widely used open source license, the GNU General Public License.

From Michael Goulde:

It will benefit purveyors of proprietary software but not open source developers, agreed Michael Goulde, analyst of open source strategy at Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass. “Some open source developers believe that Microsoft should make its protocols available for use royalty free. In some cases, there are open source license restrictions that make it not possible for the software to include Microsoft licensed code – because you can’t downstream the license. So, unless Microsoft goes way beyond what it has agreed with the EU to do, only a subset of open source developers will have much interest. They’ll continue reverse engineering Microsoft protocols and doing the best they can.”

In a later post, Dana at ZDNet appears to be missing the point. He concentrates, as usual, on this decision’s effect on the US economy.

If open source developers find greater protection for their work and its results in Europe than in America that’s where they will gravitate. That’s the kind of regime the EU is trying to create. We ignore that and dismiss that at our peril.

This is a political or nationalist approach, not a technical one. And for what it’s worth, he is right. The US is still worse off in this regard. Microsoft wins at the expense of the United States as a country. The same goes for the EU. It’s corporatism where companies overtake the governments. Why would citizens allow and endorse it? It’s not just Free software developers that should go vocal. It’s everyone that should because it costs everyone in terms of money and innovation (no real competition).

Monopoly

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