05.11.08

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The Role of Novell et al in Stifling EC Rulings Stresses GPLv3′s Need

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 2:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shane foresaw this in 2006

Some interesting points came up in a conversation with a reader. “Microsoft has been backing software patents as a marketing tactic by playing up indemnification [page no longer there],” he says, stressing that:

Indemnification Becomes Open Source’s Nightmare and Microsoft’s Blessing, November 10, 2004

Microsoft is currently using the Novell-type deals and ‘open source’ posturing to prevent the EU from imposing heavy fines. Just watch yesterday’s analysis over at Microsoft Watch:

Microsoft Appeals €899M Fine

[..]

After pressing further, based on a different statement given to Reuters, I got acknowledgement that Microsoft has filed an “application to annul” the fine. I guess the drama with the Competition Commission is far from over. But Microsoft wants closure on one act. The company’s appeal is more than about money. Microsoft is seeking a precedent that could forestall future fines related to protocol disclosure.

The Commission already has 3 (soon 4, at least potentially) simultaneous antitrust probes against Microsoft. One might as well reckon that Microsoft wants to slow them down, using more bureaucracy.

Further adds our reader: “Again the importance of not just the GPL, but specifically GPLv3. The importance is not going unnoticed.” It was stressed yet again in this new opinion piece that’s centered around Sun Solaris.

Crystal Ball Sunday #2: OpenSolaris vs. Linux

[...]

Second, and perhaps more important, is the license that both operating systems will eventually live under. Linus Torvalds opposes GPL3 and currently refuses to allow the kernel to be governed by it. OpenSolaris was released under the CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License).

I think the first one of these operating systems that is releases under GPL3 will probably gain widespread acceptance with developers, corporations, and adopters. The reason is that most of the other open source apps released under GPL3 will receive vigorous adoption and development by the kernel that also matches that license.

There’s still the danger of patent trolls. Yesterday afternoon we wrote about Nathan Myhrvold, about whom our reader had this to day: “people like that don’t care about how much they screw up their own country or others.”

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Bill Gates, Challenges and Strategy Memo (May 16, 1991)

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2 Comments

  1. shane coyle said,

    May 11, 2008 at 11:11 am

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    Yeah, it seemed so obvious back then, good to see the ‘mainstream’ media is beginning to see the true point of the deal. As was cited in that previous article, it was not the first time MS exhibited this behavior – cutting individual deals with vendors to allay EC rulings, including Novell, in the past.

    Why would Novell have approached MS to pay for access to the very same info that the EC was already in the process of forcing MS to disclose, if not to legitimize MS’ claims that the “IP” in question is indeed innovative and worthy of royalties, rather than the standard interface information that it is. And, for their trouble, Novell gets a few hundred million dollars to stave off the barbarians at the gate (“Novell Troubles” Header).

    In a way, the end-run around the GPL was a red-herring, or perhaps an entertaining side-effect, but I’m sure Ballmer enjoyed seeing just how far Novell would eviscerate themselves for less than a week of Microsoft profit, all the same.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 11, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Gravatar

    Sun too appears to have played a secondary role. It remains to be seen what secret arrangements Sun and Microsoft have had.

    At the end of the day, these are all marriages of convenience (or so they think at the start), but the children (or baby gnus… or baby penguins) aren’t too happy.

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