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TomTom Caves; Will Microsoft Start Charging for Mono Next?

Patent protection expires



Summary: Wake up call to Mono fans as TomTom pays Microsoft royalties for FAT

FOR those who have not heard yet, TomTom settled with Microsoft and agreed to pay for a Free software implementation of FAT. What about all those products out there which integrate Mono, a free implementation of Microsoft's crown jewel and Java wannabe, .NET? Microsoft would insist that it took $3 billion in R&D.



We'll write more about the subject later this week, but as Reuters puts it, "Under the terms of a five-year agreement, Microsoft said TomTom will pay Microsoft for use of the eight car navigation and file management system patents in the case Microsoft brought against TomTom, while Microsoft will be able to use the four patents included in the TomTom countersuit without any payment to TomTom."

Does a "five-year agreement" sound familiar?

“Those Microsoft technologies just don't belong in GNU/Linux; they belong in Ballnux.”According to other sources, "TomTom will remove from its products the functionality related to two file management system patents (the “FAT LFN patents”), which enables efficient naming, organizing, storing and accessing of file data, Microsoft said. TomTom will remove this functionality within two years, and the agreement provides for coverage directly to TomTom’s end customers under these patents during that time." Groklaw says that 'TomTom & Microsoft Settle "in a way that ensures TomTom’s full compliance with its obligations under the GPLv2".'

Microsoft probably wins for Linux FUD in this case, so the question about who caved is irrelevant and OIN proved somewhat unhelpful.

All those Microsoft apologists who insist that the company does not use its patent offensively can hush up and Mono enthusiasts who pretend that it's all right to just mimic Everythingâ„¢ Microsoftâ„¢ can take their output and shove it in a sled (or SLED) where it belongs. Those Microsoft technologies just don't belong in GNU/Linux; they belong in Ballnux. Speaking of which, here is a new article from Sam Varghese, who explains why SLED is a pointless product. It is -- just as Novell aspired for it to be -- a "cheap Windows". Not cheap as in price; cheap as in poor.

SUSE 11 vs Windows 7: no contest



[...]

If one had to choose between an Exchange clone and Exchange itself, which one would you pick?

If there was a choice between a word processor that had Office compatibility and the real thing, why would you opt for a pretender?

If one needed to use Silverlight, then why opt for the clone that is always lagging behind in terms of full compliance?


Those who want to defeat Microsoft should stop copycatting Windows and signing patent deals. The first step may be to shun Novell projects like Mono and Moonlight and also alienate this company's voice as far as Free software is concerned.

GNU/Linux should capitalise on its merits, not on temporary 'protection' from Microsoft and a permission to copy some features provided the user is paying royalties for patents that are neither legal in the large majority of the world nor even disclosed.

“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 (when Microsoft was smaller)

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