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MSOSBC, the OSI and Microsoft's Software Patents Demand

Who let the dogs out?

Michael TiemannWe are not done criticising the event called OSBC 2008. Not yet anyway. Some weeks ago we saw Bruce Perens deciding to step up in order to bring change. He did this amid Microsoft's attempts to change open source. Unsurprisingly, Matt Asay immediately stood in his way, much like a Microsoft gatekeeper.

Working from the inside, Microsoft also decided to name open source and GNU/Linux users "thieves" and some people believe they can change Microsoft, not just make them pretend better. Ask Judge Jackson about it and then re-evaluate your chances.

It was not only in our eyes that OSBC seems like a failure [1, 2, 3]. It would have been a lot better had it not concentrated on Microsoft. OSBC 2008 was all about Microsoft, at least from the perspective of the press. One can only hope for a better do next year.

Watch this new interview with Bruce Perens. It's summarised thusly:

Open source leader views software patenting as the No. 1 impediment to innovation


Michael Tiemann, watching the press that Microsoft has received from (read: generated with) (MS)OSBC, comes to realise what was said there. He rebuts:

An Information Week article published last week appears to position Microsoft as trying to do something right when it comes to open source. And it positions the open source community as being not quite ready to make nice after past insults, threats, and abuse.

Speaking for myself, I am always ready to see what somebody has to say when they say they want to work with the open source community. Unfortunately, Microsoft seems to be continuing its campaign of defining open source on its own terms, terms that violate the basic principles of our community. According to the article:

For patented protocols, Microsoft said it would offer licenses on "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms." Open source developers can access the protocols for free for noncommercial use without fear of lawsuits, Microsoft said.


The Open Source Definition makes it quite clear in #6 that restrictions against commercial use violate the OSD. Thus, a free-of-cost license that prohibits commercial use is useless to open source developers. And therefore I cannot understand why anybody would think that Microsoft is doing the open source community any favors.


So, why is Microsoft in the OSI anyway? Is it due to people who openly let them into the OSI and then actually invite a Microsoft lawyer to open up an open source event? That's just why Microsoft helps create business-oriented conferences like OSBC, in order to redefine some rules and elbow aside Free software with assimilation techniques. Live and learn already. Remember ISO going dysfunctional yesterday? The OSI could be equally paralyzed (it not dead) unless it wakes up and responds. Always find the insiders to eradicate intrusion attempts. There are always some people whom you can trust.

Richard Stallman and the GPLv3

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