Geoff Zeiss

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February 22, 2008


Tim Bowden

I can't help but feel MS is desperately trying to lay more quicksand with this one. The commercial- non commercial distinction when viewed from the point of view of typical open source licensing is a big red flag. So many of MS's actions lately seem to say they have accepted open source is part of the landscape (if only they could just contain it to being done on windows), but are desperate to kill the GPL and any momentum Linux may have. So far they've drawn a blank in answering the FOSS challenge (well, perhaps won a minor skirmish with the patent agreement with Novel). They've become more subtle and reasoned in their approach lately, but I don't believe they're getting any more headway yet.

I suspect there's a big chart in Redmond with the open source world divided up into GPL and non-GPL and commercial and non commercial. They're trying to make friends on one side while attacking the other. I don't believe that's a winning strategy because the FOSS community doesn't have such clear splits. If they go too far, they may well end up inadvertently highlighting just how valuable a tool the GPL is when it comes to protecting FOSS, both commercial and non-commercial.

As far as the patent threats against linux go, I don't believe they have much substance. To try and make something of it they'd be taking on IBM, one of the biggest patent holders around. I don't believe they want that Armageddon.

There's also a big difference between what MS says it will do and what it often does. On that score, I'll wait and see.

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