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PostHeaderIcon Microsoft threats a bunch o’ houie?

Over the past few years, Open Source has really come to the fore front of everyone’s mind. It is a great way to cut costs and yet still maintain compatibility with the rest of your industry. Need compatibility with MS Office? Open Office can do that for you. Need to be able to open 3d Studio Max renders? Open Source Blender could be right for you.

The producers of these pieces of software and hundreds more provide their work to you for free. But Microsoft has been threatening to take all of that away. How? 235 counts of Intellectual Property infringement.

Which 235 patents have been violated? Microsoft isn’t saying. Why? The wonderful thing about the Open Source community is how fast something new can be done. Need to work around a patent issue with a hardware driver? Somebody will find. Most probably several somebodies. And much faster than one of the big software companies would do it. Microsoft will not say which 235 patents are infringed because, if they did, there would soon be no infringement.

Microsoft is attempting to leverage large Linux distributors (such as Red Hat) into paying royalties to Microsoft for every copy sold. I think leverage is exactly the right word here. Lets say you need to leverage a rock. You need a fulcrum. A real fulcrum, that you can see, touch, and you know is strong enough to support you lever.

So in the case of Microsoft vs. Linux, we have the rock (MS wanting your money), we have the fulcrum (235 patents), and we have the lever (MS lawyers). The problem is that the fulcrum is undefined. I could just as easily call Microsoft and tell them that they are violating 235 of MY patents. Do you think they would pay me if I refused to tell them which ones?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either. So why should we pay when there is no proof that we are doing anything wrong? Innocent until proven guilty. The responsibility for showing us what we are doing wrong lies with Microsoft.

Microsoft: Tell us which 235 patents are the problem. We’ll pay you till its fixed. Don’t worry, it won’t be long.

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