Fortune Magazine: "Microsoft takes on the free world"

I stumbled on an interesting and fairly unbiased article entitled "Microsoft takes on the free world" today.

This article deals with Microsoft's patent infringement threats against GNU/Linux and interviews Brad Smith, Microsoft's senior vice president, and Eben Moglen, the Executive director of the Software Freedom Law Center, in order to get views from both sides.

Of course, no article can be complete without mentioning the fact that although Microsoft has decided that GNU/Linux and FOSS software violates 235 patents, they completely refuse to disclose what they actually are.

Gutierrez refuses to identify specific patents or explain how they're being infringed, lest FOSS advocates start filing challenges to them.

But he does break down the total number allegedly violated - 235 - into categories. He says that the Linux kernel - the deepest layer of the free operating system, which interacts most directly with the computer hardware - violates 42 Microsoft patents. The Linux graphical user interfaces - essentially, the way design elements like menus and toolbars are set up - run afoul of another 65, he claims. The Open Office suite of programs, which is analogous to Microsoft Office, infringes 45 more. E-mail programs infringe 15, while other assorted FOSS programs allegedly transgress 68.

I personally feel that this is just another great example as to why software patents are inherently a bad idea and should be completely abolished.


recommended sites