10.26.07

The Agreement in Europe Could Drive Free Software Projects to Other Countries

Posted in America, Antitrust, Deals, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents, Samba at 5:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Remember FFII's statement about Europe's agreement with Microsoft? Well, it has just received some press coverage.

EU Commissioner Kroes’ deal with Microsoft creates real dangers to Europe’s growing open source economy, warns the FFII.

The following article from Australia goes further and looks deeper at this new scenario. It seems to actually conclude that the conditions imposed after the deal will give reasons for developers to escape a defective patent system and potentially settle in Europe.

Under terms of the ruling, Microsoft will publish an irrevocable pledge not to assert any patents it may have over the interoperability information against non-commercial open source software development projects.

There appear to be conflicting interpretations of this agreement, so it remains a little confusing. Eventually, everything will become clearer as opinions converge and reach a consensus.

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A Single Comment

  1. Sam Hiser said,

    October 26, 2007 at 10:42 am

    Gravatar

    It took me a long time working on OpenOffice.org to recognize that there was a good reason for (the paid) developers of OpeOffice.org and StarOffice to be Irish & German (working, at the time, in Dublin, Paderborn & Hamburg).

    I had been racking my brain for a good while (before and during assuming the role of Marketing Project Lead) on why it was so difficult for that project to attract Free Software participants. People aren’t often in the habit of walking up to your face and telling you your project is shit. Only Michael Meeks is that honest; but Michael had (still has) the character to act to improve the situation (not just jaw-bone).

    The terrible & time-consuming build process was one reason; another was the labyrinthine Copyright Assignment process (which took weeks for the legal paperwork to settle before code was acceptable); yet another was the Sun engineers’ unrelenting grip on commit access. All this had resulted in a highly crufty & old code base — which was not very attractive once someone had come and wasted the sufficient effort to glean the situation.

    Not long after I had left the project, the patent aspect also penetrated my thick skull.

    Developers have been and still remain intelligent enough to know where they are wanted and where their efforts can make an impact; and also where they may be put in legal jeopardy for no equivalent benefit. They go elsewhere.

    IBM will need more than 35 developers — and possibly that many years — to get something like the value Sun leeched from Microsoft ($2 Billion) or to improve the software and project to where it even qualifies as open source.

    This is why people move on — or, for the smarter ones, stay away to begin with.

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