04.14.10

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Black Duck: Proprietary Software for Proprietary Software

Posted in Boycott Novell, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 12:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flying code

Summary: Why Free software cannot be promoted using just zeros, ones, and software patents

THE reason we are skeptics/critics of Black Duck [1, 2, 3] is not the company’s Microsoft genesis but its insistence that its products should be proprietary, its acceptance of Microsoft as part of “Open Source”, and its use of fear (Free software scare) to market its products and services. We politely choose to reject those practices.

“Black Duck has done a lot to help Microsoft.”Based on a new press release from Black Duck Software [1, 2], Black Duck is not making just proprietary software; it also creates a plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio. Such plug-ins are helping Windows developers take advantage of Free/open source software, probably for proprietary software that only runs on Windows. By doing this, Black Duck also hypes up Visual Studio 2010. Given other proponents of this software which brings “developers developers developers developers” to Microsoft (e.g. the Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke), we continue to argue that those who promote Windows for “Open Source” put money before principles. Black Duck is bragging about business gains this week, but what about ethics? Black Duck has done a lot to help Microsoft. A reasonable suggestion would be that those who are not proponents of Free software (Black Duck raves about its software patents in another press release) should identify themselves (or at least their company) appropriately. There are many companies out there which are perceived as “Open Source” companies, but in reality they sometimes damage the users’ freedoms.

“Why did we file for the patent seven years ago? Black Duck Software recognized then as now that software patents are a reality, and that having patents of our own to protect against IP incursions is a necessity. Similar to Google, IBM, HP and Red Hat, we must use software patents to protect our intellectual property from such incursions. In our market segment, a Black Duck competitor was granted a software patent last year. As a consequence, if we didn’t protect our IP using the patent system and have a means to defend ourselves from IP incursions, we’d be irresponsible to our customers and our shareholders.”

Tim Yeaton, President and CEO of Black Duck

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