decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


To read comments to this article, go here
As the light begins to come up over the horizon, Microsoft admits patent peace is not perfect - Updated
Wednesday, November 15 2006 @ 12:44 PM EST

A crack of light in the distance: Microsoft admits its patent peace with Novell missed the mark. Microsoft's Jason Matusow is blogging about it:
“Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza from Novell have been extremely clear with us that the existing covenant is not good enough,” he added, noting that Microsoft also wanted to hear from open source community members it does not have relationships with, and inviting feedback on Microsoft’s plan.

I'd call that a bit of progress, and good for Nat and Miguel for speaking up. Unfortunately, Microsoft has misunderstood how the GPL works, and where it stands on the issue of patents, if one gives Microsoft every benefit of every doubt. The folks they need to speak to are the Software Freedom Law Center. Like they're not already.

But here's my suggestion anyway: stop trying to kill or sidestep the GPL. And stop trying to put a patent tax on Linux, so you or some surrogate gets a cut. Monopolies don't get to do just whatever enters their pretty little head, you know. Make your money on your own code, fair and square. There. I've said it.

And what that means is that when Jason says the problem was in the execution, that the idea itself was solid, he has it wrong. The execution was outstanding, in a jujitsu kind of terrible way. The problem is the idea. You're trying to put new wine into old wineskins, as the saying goes, and it won't work. It can't. There will be no way to divide GPL developers into paid and not paid. Won't fly. Ever. There are other issues too. You can't restrict redistribution on GPL code. Period. You can't ask for royalties on GPL code. You can't add any restrictions to the GPL license. Seriously, you need to read the GPL and abide by it in all particulars, just like we have to respect your terms on your software. It's a matter of respecting what you call intellectual property. Explain that to your shareholders.

And ultimately you'll find that you can't divide the FOSS community. With all our faults and the variety of views, as a group we will stick together when it counts. Patent threats, FUD or otherwise, count.

Update: And now for something completely different... a statement by Eben Moglen, quoted in Fortune's "Is the Microsoft-Novell deal dead on arrival?":

The license, known as the GNU General Public License (GPL), had already been in the process of revision. In an interview with me this morning, Moglen promised that the foundation will now make "further changes" to the GPL that will make crystal clear that the Novell-Microsoft pact, or any similar pact, will violate it.

"It will surely violate GPL version 3," said Moglen, referring to the forthcoming version. Version 3 had been expected to be in place no later than March 15, 2007, though Moglen said he was uncertain whether the new circumstances would affect that schedule. "GPL version 3 will be adjusted so the effect of the current deal is that Microsoft will by giving away access to the very patents Microsoft is trying to assert."

Also, for a little context, from the International Herald Tribune's "EU gives Microsoft a deadline for antitrust compliance":

On July 19, it submitted what it said was the final installment of information. The commission has since been examining the material with a monitor, Neil Barrett, who was picked by Microsoft to oversee its compliance with the 2004 ruling.

Todd said the dispute about compliance with the 2004 antitrust ruling had no bearing on the introduction of Microsoft's new operating system, Vista, this month.

In addition to providing the material to the commission, Microsoft has announced efforts to make its products work better with open-source products and those of rival companies. The moves were seen as an acknowledgment that customers increasingly run several different types of systems and are seeking ways to make these different parts work more seamlessly together.

On Tuesday, Microsoft and a group of partners introduced an alliance to make software from competing companies and partners work better together.

And this month, Microsoft struck a deal with Novell, a longtime rival, to ensure that Novell's version of the Linux operating system could operate with Windows in corporate data centers.

Then there is Bill Gates' recent meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso:

President Barroso received today Bill Gates in his capacity as President of the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation to discuss development issues. Bill Gates welcomed the EC's support for the Global Fund and hoped it could continue. He thanked President Barroso for speaking out on development issues and Africa eg in the G8. Europe was showing leadership. President Barroso reiterated that Africa was a flagship for him, for Commissioner Michel and indeed for the Commission as a whole.

And then there is Peter Galli's "Microsoft May Indemnify Some Red Hat Users":

While Microsoft is hoping to enter into a patent deal with Red Hat similar to the one it has with Novell, the software giant has not ruled out going it alone and providing some sort of indemnification for its customers who use Red Hat Linux....

Hilf, who has been touring Europe since the announcement, admitted that there's been a lot of negativity about the deal in the open-source community. "Our intention with this deal was not to create a problem, but rather to solve one," he said.

And on that interoperability initiative:

Today at Microsoft® Tech•Ed: IT Forum 2006, Microsoft Corp. announced the formation of the Interop Vendor Alliance, a global, cross-industry group of software and hardware vendors that will work together to identify opportunities for enhancing interoperability with Microsoft systems on behalf of their customers. Customers are telling Microsoft that interoperability is as important to them as security and reliability. Because of this, Microsoft is seeking to proactively work with partners and competitors alike to help increase customers’ return on investment in their IT solutions while reducing the cost and risk associated with integrating diverse systems. Founding members of the alliance include Advanced Micro Devices Inc., (AMD), BEA Systems Inc., Business Objects, CA, The Carbon Project, Centeris Corp., Citrix Systems Inc., GXS Inc., IP Commerce Inc., JNBridge LLC, Kernel Networks, Levi, Ray & Shoup Inc., Microsoft, NEC Corp. of America, Network Appliance Inc., Novell Inc., Q4bis, Quest Software Inc., Siemens Enterprise Communications, SOFTWARE AG, SugarCRM Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., Symphony Services Corp., Xcalia, and XenSource Inc. Microsoft welcomes other organizations and vendors across the industry to explore membership in the alliance.

I gather Microsoft would like to look interoperable. One last piece of the puzzle, IHT's "EU gives Microsoft a deadline for antitrust compliance":

The European Commission said Wednesday that Microsoft had failed to provide all the data it had demanded and gave the company just eight days to provide all the remaining information on how its operating system works with other products....

In addition to providing the material to the commission, Microsoft has announced efforts to make its products work better with open-source products and those of rival companies. The moves were seen as an acknowledgment that customers increasingly run several different types of systems and are seeking ways to make these different parts work more seamlessly together.

On Tuesday, Microsoft and a group of partners introduced an alliance to make software from competing companies and partners work better together.

And this month, Microsoft struck a deal with Novell, a longtime rival, to ensure that Novell's version of the Linux operating system could operate with Windows in corporate data centers.


  View Printable Version


Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )