12.16.09

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Microsoft Says Selling Free Software is Not Legal, Prepares to Sue Over It

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Using another so-called “promise”, Microsoft has just implicitly confirmed that it is on a warpath against people who make money selling Free software

MICROSOFT has a funny habit of building fences around Free software using all sorts of “promises”, such as the useless promise regarding Mono. A reader has just sent us a pointer to this article from IDG’s Microsoft Subnet: [via]

As part of the agreement Microsoft has struck with the European Commission to offer a ballet screen for browsers, Microsoft has issued what it calls the “Patent Pledge for Open Source Developers.” The pledge tells open source developers that Microsoft won’t sue them for developing open source software for its flagship products as long as they are not selling their software.

Microsoft has already sued TomTom and Melco for using Linux. But there’s more to it. Our reader says: “Remember the one where, they allow you to work on your code, as long as you don’t own it, and don’t work on it in company time?”

“Look up the original openSuSE patent pledge and compare it to this one,” he added. We wrote about this in 2006.

This is indeed what Microsoft has in mind. Microsoft has just exploited its useful affair with the Microsoft-bent European Commission (staff has changed) to threaten anyone who ‘dares’ to make money from Free software. Microsoft threatens the livelihood of Free software developers.

Regarding the Web browsers dispute, it’s not quite over yet, despite what the mainstream press is telling.

Microsoft EU dispute to last into 2010

Today (16 December) the EU ends a decade long dispute with Microsoft over its Internet Explorer browser. But the US software company is not out of the woods yet, as outstanding antitrust complaints could see the European Commission continue sparring with the giant in 2010.

This process has been a farce in recent months (see details below).

Related posts:

  1. A Ballot Screen is Not Justice, Internet Explorer Still Compromises Users’ PCs
  2. Mozilla Unofficially Joins ECIS and Opera in Opposition to Microsoft’s Deal in Europe; Microsoft Poisoned Firefox
  3. Parties Behind Complaints Against Microsoft in EU Not Pleased
  4. Microsoft’s Older Crimes Against Web Browsers Return, Microsoft’s New Attacks on JavaScript Revisited
  5. Opera Complains About Vista 7
  6. Microsoft Bypasses the Law and Breaks the Web for Opera and GNU/Linux Users, Again
  7. Mozilla and Opera Still Object to Microsoft’s Deal with the Commission
  8. Microsoft Hopes a Tickbox Will Restore Fair Competition in Europe; Opera Disagrees
  9. Microsoft Crowd Incites People Against Rival Web Browsers
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2 Comments

  1. uberVU - social comments said,

    December 16, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Identica by schestowitz: #Microsoft Says Selling #FreeSoftware is Not Legal, Prepares to Sue Over It http://ur1.ca/hztp

  2. dyfet said,

    December 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Gravatar

    I believe the correct term is restraint of trade.

    “Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $10,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $350,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding three years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.”

    I think the old Sherman Anti-trust act had very much the right idea at least with felony convictions and prison. I particularly note the part in respect to “or with foreign nations”.

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